All children and teenagers alike will jump for joy the second their parents tell them that they are going to get a cash reward for their good grades from school. However, giving cash as a reward for good grades does not come without its negative sides. There are both pros and cons associated with giving cash for good grades to kids and teens.
Do you reward your school age children for good grades & such?
I do! Here’s why-
Concrete rewards can motivate students to attend class, to behave well, or to produce better work. But if you are not careful in choosing what you reward, they can prompt students to produce shoddy work–and worse, they can cause students to actually like school subjects less. The important guidelines are these: Don’t use rewards unless you have to, use rewards for a specific reason, and use them for a limited time.
I often hear parents say, “I’m uneasy with this whole concept of paying children to do something they should be doing anyway. I want them to study out of a real love of learning, not because they are being paid.”
This is probably the most common comment I hear about “Contracts”. Parents are concerned about “bribing” or “rewarding” behavior they would prefer came naturally, or from a “love” or “feeling of responsibility.”
I understand the question: Parents don’t like paying children for doing what they think should be done for free. My response is, “Very rarely do we do anything for free.” The two greatest motivators (rewards) in life are self interest and social approval. Simply enough, human beings really like to be rewarded. This is the way things really are – not some pie-in-the-sky mumbo jumbo.
SOME POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND
- To paraphrase Albert Shanker, the late president of the American Federation of Teachers: “Kids are just like adults. They’ll do whatever they have to in order to get what they want. If they can get what they want – inflated grades, social promotion, diploma by attendance, open admission to college, free money and privileges – without any real work, then don’t expect them to work. Kids aren’t stupid.”
- Going to school is a child’s job. Since I get paid for my job, I believe my children should also have the opportunity to earn for doing theirs. No one complains when an adult is paid for doing a good job, why do we complain when we treat children the same? Many parents are willing to pay for chores, why do these same parents hesitate to reward their children for effort that is far more critical to their future success?
- The idea of studying out of a “love of learning” is a little specious. Yes, it’s a goal, and a path towards that goal is to catch children doing the right thing when they are studying, and rewarding them. Should they develop a love of learning, or not, at least they learn that appropriate academic behavior in this life earns, and that inappropriate behavior sets them up for failure. Now, that is a lesson worth learning.
- Children need stuff. There are only two choices, either we give them what they want arbitrarily, or we allow them to earn what they want. I far prefer being out of the middle of the “I wants” and being able to say, “No problem, when you earn it you’ve got it.” This allows the child real power and is a very powerful lesson that can’t be learned too early. The problem is, of course, many parents will undermine this model in their desperate need to be liked and to have a friend. Consistency is the key to effective contracts.
- Paying for chores and other family responsibilities is of the devil. I do not get paid for doing chores, my wife does not get paid, why should my children? Children, as part of the family team, are responsible for certain unnegotiable chores.
- Rewarding good behavior is how children learn the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. What we are doing is accelerating the learning process. Parents and teachers, certainly, have no problem catching children doing the wrong thing and punishing, why does catching them doing the right thing and rewarding appear so foreign?
- Reward behavior daily that leads to good grades on report cards, not the report cards themselves – they are weeks and months down the road.
- Keep in mind, you don’t reward studying, you don’t reward good grades. The only thing you reward are three easily observed behaviors: starting on time; staying on task; completing assignments.
- A person is fortunate to be born with one or two “talents,” or , “loves.” We discover those things we love by doing them.
This is what I really wanted to share. Make sure you call the business first to check if they are participating.
Baskin-Robbins — Free scoop of ice cream for good grades on your report card.
Blockbuster — Free movie rental for A’s or B’s on your report card if you bring it in within 30 days of issuance. Kid’s grades K – 12 are eligible and multiple students from each family are eligible.
Cheryl & Co — Free cookie for every A on your report card!
Chick-fil-A – Free 8 pack of nuggets for your all A’s and B’s report card.
Chuck E. Cheese – Have your child bring in their most recent report card and they will receive Free tokens for good grades, up to 15 tokens maximum per child. (Food purchase required.)
Family Video – Free movie rental for each A on your report card. Students K – College are eligible.
Krispy Kreme – Receive a free donut for each A on your report card (up to 6 A’s).
Limited Too – Report cards may be taken in to any Limited Too retail store within 30 days of issuance and receive $5 off their purchase that day.
Noah’s Bagels – Kids in grades 1 – 8 will receive a free bagel for each A on their report card.
McDonald’s – Free Happy Meal if you have a straight “A” report card.
Peter Piper Pizza – Free 7 inch, 1 topping pizza with good grades on report card.
Pizza Hut – Free Personal Pan Pizza and a small soft drink or carton of milk with 3 A’s on your report card. Dine in only.
Sbarro Pizza – Student with A’s and B’s on his or her report card gets a free slice of cheese or peperoni pizza and a small soda plus one for the accompanying adult.
Topps – Free gift when you bring in your report card.
Homeschoolers don’t feel left out! You can bring in your report cards too, and there are even some free printables HERE that you can use.
Whether parents choose to offer a reward or an incentive or not, positive reinforcement is a good parenting strategy. Letting your children know you appreciate their hard work or they have done a good job can be as simple as praising them or offering encouragement through words and actions