Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Should Kids Be Rewarded For Good Grades?

I was never a good student.

I'm still not all that smart and sometimes have no clue how I made it through courses like history, geometry and chemistry.

My kids are all good students. All are smart and care about succeeding in school and making good grades.

I don't believe it has anything to do with rewarding them for their good grades - but ... we do it!

We have never had a report card, yet, from any of our kids, where their grades were a problem, so we have not been confronted with the "not rewarding" because there were poor grades. But ... we still offer a reward when the report card shows good grades (A's and B's).

I guess my feeling has always been that school is their job. They need to approach it as a duty - a commitment, and if they do it successfully - do it well - then the pay-off will be that their academic success will provide them greater opportunities.

And ... if I see that my kids are putting forth tremendous time and effort and being successful, then I want them to know that we appreciate their hard work - therefore, we offer a reward.

My twins usually request books as their reward. My son sometimes wants a new video game or a special toy - as does Alexis. We usually let them specify what they would like and either agree that their choice is perfectly appropriate (in price, etc.) or not.

My kids have come to appreciate these rewards - not expect them. There has even been times where they will say, "There's not anything I really want, right now."

This is just how we handle grades in our house - what about you? Are you FOR giving rewards for grades or are you On The Flipside?

Give me your most honest opinion - whether you agree with me or have a FLIPSIDE view. But, please make sure you follow the comment rules and be nice to me and other commenter's. And please go over to my sidebar and participate in the poll question on this topic.
Poll results: Should Children Be Rewarded For Good Grades? 11 People took the poll and 11 (100%) said Yes.


Rosemary Bogdan said...

We haven't rewarded our kids for good grades usually, but I'm thinking it might be a good idea since it works for you! I do have two children with mild dyslexia though and I think it wouldn't be fair to use the same criteria for everyone in our family. If the kids were pretty evenly "matched" I would definitely do it.

Jacey said...

I'm not really sure where I stand on that.
Based on how it was done for me - I wasn't a fantastic student. I've onyl really come into my own as far as school goes since I started University. That's where it all really started to make sense to me. But high school? I didn't work hard. I didn't feel the need to. I didn't really enjoy it. I didn't get it... it was HARD. And when I DID try, it didn't seem to show in my marks, so I stopped trying as hard.
I went to an all girls, private school. With girls whos parents rewarded them with large sums of money, cellphones, tvs, cars..... my parents didn't do that. I would never have expected that. I believe at one stage, in 10th or 11th grade, when everyone was getting offered money for good grades in final exams (I'm not sure about the US, but 10th grade is where the major exams start here. 101th, 11th and 12th.) I suggested to my parents that they may want to consider it. They didn't. I guess they felt that they rewarded my sister and I in other ways. We had a lot of family holiidays overseas. We got to go to the beach every summer for weeks on end. We got good educations.
So no rewards in the sense of getting something for your grades.

What would I do? I don't know. I guess it would depend on my husbands thoughts. It'd depend on what kind of students my kids where - if I thought they needed that kind of motivation... but then, if it's used as motivation, I think it becomes more like bribery.
So having re-read what I've said, I think I'd probably be On the Flipside ;)

moma grits said...

My Alexis is only in Kindergarten as of yesterday but she has been in dance, tae kwando, tumbling and t-ball. She is an active little girl. I do reward her for the good she does more verbally than with material things. I also encourage her when she messes up on things. Even at the tender age of 5 I have explained to her that if she excels and succeeds academically that she can do anything she wants to do. Her 7 year old cousin informed her a few days ago that smarts kids were "nerds", yes! I had to correct her! I explained to Alexis that the smart kids were often referred to as nerds in school but as adults many of them lived comfortable lives and that the kids that were NOT nerds often struggled in adult life. She wants to be a nerd LOL My niece is 17 and she just entered nursing school yesterday. My sister practiced the same methods I use. Dallas' friends always said she was spoiled because she did not have an after school job. Dallas let them know that she did her job as a student and brought home a's and b's so her reward was to not have to work while in high school. Those same kids that said she was spoiled are not entering college, a few of them graduated as expecting young mothers and are working as carhops. An occasional gift i super, verbal praise and encouragement works the best for us.

Ellyn said...

I don't see any problem in rewarding good grades. We plan on rewarding when the time comes. We will probably make it a family day of some kind. Amusment park or something like that.

Brenda said...

I think you should do what ever works. My grandson lives with us and he has ADHD. He struggles, I struggle. Rewards don't seem to make a difference but if they did, I'd try it.

Sally said...

This is such a personal decision; not a right or wrong. What works for one family might not for another.

I think you've raised a really great child that would say they didn't want or need something when the "reward" time came along. That speaks a lot about you and the child. :)

Kelly said...

My boys always bring home great report cards. We usually celebrate by going out to eat as a family. I see nothing wrong with this kind of reward. My in laws usually give them a dollar for each A. I'm not sure how I feel about that, I'm kind of mixed but I guess there's nothing wrong with it.

I think it's awesome that your girls request books.

Courtney said...

Thanks for bringing this subject to light. Since neither of my kids are in school, I have never thought about it. Taylor does start next fall though so I'll have to decide. I'll come back and read your comments to help make my decision.

tammy said...

We reward our kids, too. We assigned a dollar value for A's & B's - nothing for lower. My Dad did the same thing with me and my brothers and sisters. It works fine in my family because both boys are good students and good grades come naturally. However, when I was growing up, good grades didn't come so easily to my brother. He had to struggle just to get B's, so I know he thought it wasn't fair that I got more money for A's, when it just came easily for me.

Dawn said...

I home school my daughter so there aren't any "grades" (she doesn't move on until it's right) but I use rewards quite often for specific projects she's working on such as memorization.

dani said...

we only reward straight a's... i figure that if kat can maintain a very high gpa there will be a pay-off for all involved in the end.
i do think that a reward system is a good thing and should be child (ability) dependent:)

laurwilk said...

My family has never used rewards for good grades. There are 8 of us and we have a variety of strengths and weaknesses. For me, school came quite easy and I've never struggled much to get an A. But for some of my siblings, school has been very difficult.

My parents have always kept our grades private from the other siblings. But, we do get punished if our grades are poor. (On a sliding scale, if I got a B, I was in trouble. If my sister got a B, it was okay because she actually worked for the B.)

I would say I'm On The Flipside. I think kids should work to do well so that they can have more opportunities in life, not so they can have a toy or money or a game. Understanding the value of learning should be the focus. Valuing education is a much greater reward with far more benefits.

Steph said...


My parents told me that school was my job, and my reward was money that I could spend on what I wanted. However it worked both ways. I wasn't a good student because I didn't like to do homework so I learned reward and consequences. I was paid $1.00 for an A, $.50 for a B, nothing for a C, but I had to pay my parents $.50 for a D and I had to pay a $1.00 for a F. I think it worked because it taught me the importance of hard work and their is a price if you don't do what you are suppose to.


Adrian said...

We've had grades all over the board from straight A's to F's and incompletes. I do reward good grades, but it's more a celebration than an incentive. It comes to long after the actual effort to work for us as an incentive.

Sandra Carvalho said...

I hear you girl!
I do agree with you.I was a good student despite the surrounding conditions (my parents couldn't even afford to buy me the school books) and I try to keep my kids interested in studying and if they get good grades (what they do Thank God for that) I reward them.

The Fritz Facts said...

We are not a family to reward for doing something that is their job. School, to us, is not something you have a choice in, so you do your work like you should. If you mess up, then you deal with it and move on. I don't give my kids money or new toys when they do what they are supposed to do.

I was never rewarded as a kid for good grades. My parents taught me that you do your job, or you lose out on activities. That is the reward. If we had anything less than a C, we were barred from sports and other activities. That is something that showed me how serious it is.

I want my kids to know that you have to work hard in school, and if you do you can take part in soccer, dance class and play with their friends. If you don't, the walls of your room are all you will see. That is enough of a "reward" in my opinion.

With my oldest we have had to do tough love when it comes to school, but he has worked through and proven that he is a great student, as long as he does the work.

Gail said...

I think this was the biggest motivator for me when I was younger (well that AND knowing that I did a great job) I LOVED it when report card time came and (when we were in high school) we would get 10$ for an A and 5$ for a B. C's were nutural and yes we did have to work off D's and F's (not that I ever got any hee hee :) So YES I truly believe in rewarding for good grades.

common mom said...

The only reward for good grades in our house are the pats on the back, the "we're so proud of you" - etc. Hard work is expected, not rewarded. If you try your hardest, you'll feel good about yourself, no matter what the ultimate grade is. My son can't spell for anything - neither can his father. He always gets terrible grades in spelling. Yet I know he's trying as hard as he can. Therefore, there isn't a good grade to reward . . . yet we reward the behavior and the effort.

I love to see the looks of pride and accomplishment on my kids' faces when they've tried their hardest. The feeling of knowing you did your best. The feeling of being proud of yourself. The feeling of knowing that they're made us proud.

We give our kids praise and hugs and love and encouragement and let them know how much we appreciate their hard work and how important they are and how proud we are of their accomplishments - but not to the point of it being empty praise - they're too smart for that.

Ultimately, good behavior/grades, etc. are expected, not rewarded.

Tabitha said...

I do reward my children for good school reports ~ my parents always did the same for me and my sister and I remember that feeling of pride and achievement!!

Helen E.M. Wright said...

I would like to say that I would not reward as 'getting the mark is reward enough'. Plus, I don't really like the idea of rewarding something that should be done.

On the other hand. I remember getting grading presents at the end of the year and my brothers and I loved it!

So, today I am wishy-washy!

Maggie - Mom of Six said...

I don't believe in giving monetary rewards for the grades. I look at it as preparing them for life. I don't mind a reward for doing well overall for the year. And this is my basis on it. When you have a job, you don't get a physical reward for completing an assignment. You get a sense of accomplishment and a pat on the back for a job well done (at least you should, LOL). You should get a raise, bonus, etc. for an overall job well done. So, in my house, you get a "job well done" and a big hug for making the best grades you are capable of making (not all kids are created equal). and, if you pull your weight all year, you get something special at the end. For my freshman, he will get to go on the band trip to D.C.

forgetfulone said...

I reward my kids for their grades because it is a result of hard work. Just like I get a paycheck, I give them a reward for a job well done, but not because they "deserve" it, but because I want to. Then again, I also have them use their allowance and reward money for the things they want rather than going out and buying it for them. It teaches them to save and budget. (I refused to buy an ipod, and my daughter saved until she could buy it herself).

I was a good student, and I never got paid for my grades, so that is not why I reward my kids.

On the other hand, I wish my husband would reward his step-daughters in some way (it doesn't have to be money) because they have both done poorly in the past year. They have NO incentive and NO consequences.

Like I mentioned, we get a paycheck for doing our jobs, right? We don't go to work because we want to - at least not most of us! School is their job, as is helping around the house, and they are learning the value of a dollar (or lack thereof LOL).

But I can actually see both sides of this debate, though.

Belle said...

Our children generally got a little treat for a job well done. We didn't give them money, though. Maybe a book or move or dinner out. It seemed to work.

suz said...

I agree that school is THEIR job right now. That is what I tell my girls. I expect them to do well. We do not offer any rewards per se', but will do a family dinner out when they both have done really well and they get to choose where we eat. They enjoy this.
Now, grandma pays $ for a's and b's and takes back money for anything less than a b.

Ann(ie) said...

I'm ALL for giving rewards for grades. My mom did and I will, too. It doesn't have to be monetary....just something to say nicely done and keep up the good work. Sometimes it was as simple as a record or tape. hehe. um, am I showing my age or what? ;)