Should Your Children Receive Money for Good Grades?

We all want our children to do well in school. Good grades lead to good opportunities that, in turn, contribute to a good adult life. For that reason, it is only natural that we should want to encourage our children to do their best academically. But what is the best way to encourage academic excellence in children? What kind of reward is “right” for teaching children about the value of bringing home a report card with high marks? There is some debate over whether or not parents should offer monetary rewards in exchange for good grades. Should your children receive money for good grades? Take a look at these pros and cons and decide for yourself:

The Pros of Rewarding Good Grades

Work ethic. Some argue that giving cash rewards for good grades is a great way to instill work ethic in children from early-on. After all, when they leave school and start a career, they will be paid for a job well done.

Incentive. Let’s face it: some children just don’t have the natural propensity to enjoy schoolwork. If your child struggles with the thought of committing to and developing enthusiasm for educational obligations, then money may be the incentive needed to get out of that rut.

Real-life equivalence. Life is full of rewards and punishments. Teaching children that hard work and accomplishment comes with rewards is not necessarily a bad thing.

The Disadvantages of Rewarding Good Grades

External versus internal satisfaction. Many opponents of the cash-for-grades method argue that making good grades should be a fulfilling experience in itself. Children should learn a love for achievement, based on the satisfaction of setting a goal, working hard to reach that goal, and then accomplishing that goal – no external payoff required.

Entitlement. It may be unhealthy to reward children for doing things that they should do no matter what. If you give your children money for grades, what’s next? Paying them to be nice to others?

Un-academic children. Some children struggle in school for very legitimate reasons. Children who have learning disabilities may find it difficult (or impossible) to bring home straight-A report cards, and the cash reward for good grades may feel like an unattainable carrot dangling in front of their faces and a constant reminder of their struggles.

All children are different, and what works for one may not work for another. There is no definitive answer to the question of giving money for grades, but a good, hard look at the possible pros and cons should help you arrive at a conclusion that is best-suited to your family.