Should Kids Be Paid for Good Grades?

should you pay kids for good gradesHi all!  Today’s vlog tackles the issue of cash for grades: thumbs up or thumbs down, mamas and papas?

Like any parent, I want to motivate my kids to do their best.  Question is: what is the best way to do this and is giving out a cash reward helpful or damaging over the long term?

On a global level, some countries have experimented with rewarding good grades with cash compensation.  Meanwhile, in the parenting world, writers like Ron Leiber are exploring how talking about money with our kids can be so awkward for us! Yet even though we might not want our kids to know how much our car cost or what we earn, for many of us growing up, linking cash with success was the norm and an “A” meant a dollar or a toy or a special candy.  When I was little, my mom took us to a special neighborhood book store and we got to pick out a book.

My kids are still too young for grades.  They do get report cards, but I don’t even think they know that they get them! Their report cards spell out how they are doing and where there is room for improvement.  I prefer my kids don’t know that there is any sort of formal evaluation process so I’ve never told them about their report cards…

So we’re too young still for formal grades, yet my current thinking is that even when they are old enough to get formal grades, I will try not to start paying for grades?  Why?  A few reasons…

Number one, I want my kids to learn how good it feels to just work really hard on something and do your best.  I get so much satisfaction out of that myself and I want my kids to experience that too.  Second, I want them to love learning because I know this will really add to their happiness.  So if they’ve worked hard and had an amazing time learning something, but don’t end up with a top-notch grade (meaning no cash reward) what am really saying to them?  That they failed?  Did they really fail or did they have a great learning experience? For these reasons, I hesitate about paying for grades.

I’m also thinking that often you work really hard on something in life and don’t immediately do well or succeed and it takes time and perseverance to get there.  Such has been my experience with CloudMom actually and I talk about that a bit more in the vlog.

For more on why I’m thinking NOT paying kids for good grades is the way to go, watch my vlog.

And please weigh in: do you pay for grades or not?  What are your reasons and how has it worked out thus far?

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3 Responses to Should Kids Be Paid for Good Grades?

  1. mahaa November 27, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    well i too don’t agree to reward them , but once in the blue moon can be done . all the while….actually serious matter as they grow

    • Melissa Lawrence December 2, 2013 at 11:37 am #

      I agree… it’s all a balancing act, sometimes I can’t make it through bedtime without small rewards… you can like ideas in the abstract but that doesn’t mean they work in actuality!

  2. andreao49431 September 18, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    I just found your site, and I love what you have to say! Anyway, I don’t believe in paying for grades either. We have one child who struggles with school, and another that excels at everything she does. When I was in school, we had “BUG” awards, which meant bringing up grades. I make my own “BUG” awards for the one who works hard and does his best, because I think improvement is just as important as excelling. For the other one, everything she touches turns to gold. She is smart and athletic and she knows it and she can get snarky about it. We do congratulate her on her achievements, but we also try to keep her bragging in check. What makes things tough is that my “average” boy is 2 years older, so now he has an “I could care less” attitude about everything. That’s what makes his BUG awards so important, and we make sure he knows that he has his talents too. He is kind, very good at making friends, and really helpful in the kitchen. He likes to help cook, and his concoctions are really good. So every time the recipe was his idea, I make sure he knows how tasty it is. I think verbal and written rewards are much more helpful than money or more stuff, and there is a lot more to the world than scholastic achievement. Also our household does not need more stuff!