It’s probably not thought about in this way as much as it should be, but think about it. Those of us who have jobs, we were able to get them because we have an education, correct? Even if we didn’t get a college degree, we still have a high school diploma (or GED) as a sign of proof that we learned the skills needed for us to know how to read and write (among other things) at a fairly progressive level. And so, while as adults we have jobs, for children that are in school, learning is their job. Education is what they are investing in so that someday they can have a prosperous and fulfilling career.
When you look at it that way, doesn’t it make you want to take a very thorough approach when it comes to how you deal with your children and their education? After all, if we can spend eight hours a day to earn a paycheck, shouldn’t there be something done for the child that spends eight hours at school?
This is the reason why the question, “Should you give your kids rewards for good grades?” is one that doesn’t really have a clear cut “yes” or “no” answer. But if you are pondering what will work for you, rather than using words like “reward”, consider swapping them out for ones like “encourage”, “support” and “incentives” because those three things are what every child needs to develop and succeed, both in and outside of the classroom.
It is certainly understandable why many parents and educators are not very obliging when it comes to the idea of giving children money or gifts in return for a good report card. To some, it’s seen as a way of bribing a child to learn, which could potentially send the wrong message about the importance of receiving an education; without question, education should be seen as reward enough. Ideally, a child shouldn’t want to learn because they will get things. They should want to learn so that they can become a well-rounded and holistically healthy individual.
But that’s seeing things from a very mature perspective. Most children are not concerned with their long-term future. They are focused on what’s happening today: How much homework they will have to do, what will be for dinner and if they will be able to gain access to the remote so that they can click here or there to various television programs. Therefore, in order to keep them motivated and inspired, it is worth considering offering incentives for a job well done because the thing about an incentive is that it incites people to make greater efforts, to develop higher levels of productivity. In other words, you’re not telling your child each year, “I’ll give you $100 if you make straight As” but rather, “Good grades are something that you should take personal pride in, but for when you go above and beyond, I am more than happy to do something special for you.” That “above and beyond” could include things like always doing extra credit work, taking on classwork that they won’t get a grade for or using some of their play time to study, instead. Before long, you’ll see a child that is always trying to top themselves and that’s worth honoring.
Should a child get a reward for good grades? That’s subjective, but when an incentive rather than a reward is the focus, a child is always raising their own bar. When it comes to excelling both in the classwork and in the workplace, that is a life lesson that brings forth never-ending positive results.