Hmm…. This question about whether or not paying kids for good report cards is a good idea is a tricky one. For some kids, this might be a big motivation.
For others, it’s not necessary. It’s sort of like chores. There are just some things that kids are supposed to do.
Do you pay for good grades?
Once kids get to a certain age, starting around 8 or 9 years old, depending on the child, there are just some givens. Typically, this would include:
- Learning to choose healthy food and drinks
- Showering, brushing teeth, other grooming
- Doing their best in school
- Keeping up their bedroom if they are lucky enough to have one (sometimes we take this for granted)
- Helping out with chores and household duties
- Learning about honesty, trustworthiness, responsibility, sportsmanship, etc.
- Learning how to be a good friend
Paying kids for good report cards
When you start paying kids to do what they are supposed to do anyway, what happens?
Most times, if they were already high achieving, they will continue to do well. For children who might be borderline between two grades, paying them for A’s and B’s would motivate them a bit to work harder to get the reward.
In some households, kids already have most everything they would possibly want and need. In these instances, money might not be a big motivator.
Yet, in other homes, it might work better. What’s most likely a determinate is if children are responsible for using their own money for things. In these cases, giving kids a way to earn money is important.
They can’t save up for that video game if they have zero access to funds. However, if it’s a household in which kids can get whatever they want — even if it’s not for a birthday or holiday gift — then it’s most likely less motivating.
Ways to pay for good grades
Paying kids money
Paying kids for good grades could mean actually paying them a certain dollar amount per grade.
As an example, for every A they may get $5 – $10. For a B grade, you may give them $3 – $5.
We know a family with kids in middle school and high school who pays $100 for every A, $75 for every B, and $50 for every C. Is that extra $50 worth the difference between getting a C and an A?
Do you want to put a value on grades?
Going out for a celebration
There are also other rewards, such as going out for a celebration because of a good report card. Perhaps the child gets to pick a favorite restaurant or go out for ice cream.
Other ideas for good grades could be they go on a special outing, like to an amusement park, bowling, trampoline park, etc.
Letting kids pick out a toy or game
Maybe the child gets to buy a toy or game when they get a good report card. Some parents motivate children with new sports equipment or shoes they may need for an upcoming season.
Buying kids clothing items
Preteens and teens may be motivated by new clothing, a purse or backpack, a jacket, expensive shoes or boots, etc.
More screen time
With a good report card, another idea is to reward the child with additional screen time. This only works if there are currently limits on electronics.
As an example, some families allow kids to be on screens only on weekends during the school year. Perhaps the child can earn an extra hour, etc. during the week.
One-time rewards for good grades
For kids who need that extra push one quarter, trimester or semester, some parents might reward their kids with a new phone or iPad, bicycle, trampoline, vacation to a water park, skiing, a trip to the arcade or bowling, etc.
In these instances, even a child “who has everything” might be motivated to work harder.
Businesses who reward students for good report cards
There are certain businesses who give rewards to students with good report cards. For example, a child would bring his/her report card to the counter at an arcade place. The business gives game tokens for every A and B on the report card.
Restaurants may give the child a free kid’s meal or dessert. A bowling alley might give them a free game for a certain amount of A grades. There’s a family amusement park who gives the kids a free go-kart ride and tokens for their batting cages for A and B grades.
Teachers reward students
In elementary school, many teachers motivate students with candy, tickets to go toward a larger prize, extra recess time, a class party or movie, etc.
Teachers typically use incentives throughout the school year, in advance of report card time. (Come report card time, it’s too late, right?!)
Does paying kids for good grades motivate them?
Barring any learning challenges and disabilities, in most cases, it’s correct to assume kids should be getting good grades. So does rewarding them for good report cards motivate them?
In instances where kids buy the things they want, yes, it must be a good motivator. In other homes, when it’s not a treat to go out on an outing or to get a new Lego set or video game, it may be inconsequential.
What do you do? Do you pay for good report cards and reward good grades? Do you think it helps to motivate your child? Is it motivating to your child to earn a certain amount of money for each A and B grade?