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Should You Pay Your Child for Good Grades?

Should You Pay Your Child for Good Grades?

Should you pay out for every report card A and B? Many parents and experts feel very strongly about whether rewarding a child for good grades is helpful motivation or sends entirely the wrong message.

Yes: Kids Should be Rewarded for a Job Well Done

“If doing well at school is a kid's ‘job’ then isn't it only fair that they receive some recognition of a job well done?” Sharon B. asks. Many Circle of Moms members say yes to this school-as-a-job approach, contending that children should be rewarded for their efforts, and taught the connection between performance and pay. Tracie D. recalls: “I got paid for my grades when I was younger and it was a terrific incentive…My parents' rationale was that school was my job, so I should get paid for it. The harder I worked, the more I got paid…I know how much I enjoyed getting paid for my grades and how hard I would work to earn that money. It was very satisfying. So far my girls feel the same way.”

No: Monetary Rewards Send the Wrong Message

Others, however, say establishing monetary rewards for grades actually discourages a strong work ethic. Motivating kids with promises of money and gifts “kills their intrinsic motivation,” says mother-of-three Barbara R. “Kids want to do well just because they want to do their best…Once you start paying, they aren't doing their best for the right reasons. They're doing it so they can get paid. It also encourages materialism. Some positive attention will go a lot farther — and keep them motivated for life.” Sherri C. agrees: “I did a good job because I took pride in my work and I wanted to be proud of the job I did, not because I was getting money to do so.”

Maybe: Every Child is Different

Not all children have inner motivation to succeed in school, says Jane S.: “My daughter never needed a material reward. All she wanted was for me to notice and congratulate her. My son is a different story. He sees no point in school, hates to do homework, and would rather do anything except the basic work required of him. I do sometimes promise him a reward for a specific goal… It depends a lot on the child and how they perceive school…”

Tips for Rewarding Your Kids

If you do want to instate a reward system, moms and experts alike emphasize the importance of taking effort and natural abilities into account. Achievement in school doesn’t come easily for all children, and setting unrealistic expectations can end up being discouraging, rather than motivational. As Karen W. shares: “I feel that paying for a specific letter grade does not recognize that she has different strengths and could be a disincentive to continuing to work hard to master math, because she wouldn't get a reward anyway.”

For a middle of the road approach, some moms suggest rewarding kids with experiences rather than payouts. As Merende J. shares: "Compensation seems to motivate some kids, but it may send the wrong message...praise and encouragement are just as important. If you want to avoid cash payouts but still reward your kids for their successes, consider experiences instead, such as dinner out or a special trip. Experiences contribute more to lasting happiness than stuff does.”

Image Source: iPhoto

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Join The Conversation
KathleenCoade KathleenCoade 4 years
i do not give my children any money for getting good grades i just praise them for a job well done
lisabrooks55138 lisabrooks55138 4 years
I would have to say it depends on the child and the incentives. With my son when he was in kndergarten the school said that he is border adhd. He has an IEP I dont pay him for grades but for improvement. As long as there is an improvement he is awarded. He is in first grade he started the school year below reading level. The IEP only expected him to reach level 10 before the end of the year he is at level 16. He got his reward. He also struggled with spelling so I pay him $10. for every 100% but if he didn't get all five words right it was only $1.00 per word.and $5.00 for every bonus word he gets right. I don't pay for math because it is easy for him. I started rewarding him at age three when he was potty training. He got a piece of gum every tim he made it. And eventually when he got used to going then gum stopped and he didn't stop using the bathroom when the gum stopped. When he gets in the habit of doing his best this system will change and adjust to what he is struggling with. I say what ever helps your child succeed ...go for it
JennyCamburn JennyCamburn 4 years
I don't agree with paying for grades. Some kids can get A's and B's easy with or with out studying. Some kids no matter how hard they work they can not get A's and B's. I will not pay my kids for grades. I have a 10 year old that get all A's and B's and I have a 7 year old that is special needs and is going to have difficulty in school. It would not be fair. What we do is at the end of the school year when they get their final report cards we take them out to eat to celebrate their hard work and the end of a good school year.
PaulaMalagan PaulaMalagan 4 years
First, I have to say that I'm 55.....the oldest of 6 children. I was paid $.10 (that's ten cents) for an A and $.05 for a B. Back in the day it was a decent payday....and because my younger brother was not as "academically enabled", the rules changed....It became $.25 for A's, $.10 for B's and a nickle for C's......so everyone made money
ErinBerrySchade ErinBerrySchade 4 years
I have not ever paid my kids for behavior or grades in school and all 5 that are in school right now (Ranging from K-8th grade) have straight A's and 3's or 4's in behavior. I have created a positive environment at home for them and education is presented as a positive experience from day one. My kids are motivated to well in school because that is where they establish good habits for later in life when they have jobs. And yes, there are monetary incentives at work to do well but at the same time, there are things in a job that are expected and no matter how well you do them, it doesn't pay more. Their sense of accomplishment is enough to motivate them to do well.
VikkiHolliday VikkiHolliday 4 years
I reward my son with monetary values. I tried so many different ways to get him to do his homework and to complete his work on time. He is very smart, but just doesn't apply himself to do the work. He finds it boring and would rather do anything but schoolwork. He also has ADHD, but I focus not on giving of the medicine to where he would use that as a crutch (because he has tried that before too), but of motivation so that he can do with or without the medication. I have worked out a deal with him that he will receive the following at report card and progress report time: A- $10, B- $5, C- (-$5), D- (-$10), O- $5, N- (-$10), 0 Tardies- $5, Perfect Attendance- $10. We calculated that if he received straight As and all Os in his behavior, etc, plus no tardies and perfect attendance, then he could earn $110 at report card time, giving him money for the summer. So far, so good. I started the reward system just for the grades and the N. At the last report card time, he owed me $15 of which he had to pay in extra chores. But at progress report time, I owed him $25 of which he used to purchase toys that he really wanted. It shows them responsibility and also makes them work for what they want. I even encourage him to get As on his tests throughout the semester and each week as he brings home As, I give him $5 for those and $2 for Bs. But for every C, he owes me $2 and for every D or E, he owes me $10 and $15. The payments motivate him to do his best. If I see that he has been working hard and doing his best, but a C is all he can get (as in Math), then I give in and end up letting the C be a wash, as long as the other grades are where they should be. Since I started paying him for his grades and behavior (or vice versa), his behavior has been better and he focuses more on his work at school. I feel that he can get straight As if he works hard enough, but I'd be happy with honor roll-- As and Bs, and maybe a C here or there. We all know our own children and their potential. My son needs the extra motivation and the payment. I've tried so many other things that didn't work (even with potty training! we tried, stickers, cars, toys, stamps, etc, but what worked was giving him a quarter each time [and many times the same quarter was given, but to a two year old, he really didn't know the difference--he just wanted the quarter]) He's so smart in so many ways. He just apply himself. The way I find to make him apply himself is to pay him for his hard work and it works.
gaurithadaney gaurithadaney 4 years
This is similar to the award some schools give on performance each quarter but only on the home front. The key i found to developing strong learning habits is to begin when they are very young and just beginning to go to school and not wait until a child has become set in their learning habits. While awarding some children might work, it is necessary they develop a positive attitude towards learning which is what will carry them through their education with the maximum input from their side because they want to do it. Those children who have not understood that learning comes from themselves do need a little encouragement now and then.
sherrichainuck sherrichainuck 4 years
My oldest is a Freshman in college and I started paying him for good grades starting in 2nd grade until the end of High School...I started this when I saw his grades slipping and noticed a HUGE difference when he was given compensation for his hard work. I am also doing this for my youngest son who is now a Freshman in High School and I have NO regrets...my oldest was an A/B student and my youngest straight A's !!
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