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Why you shouldn’t pay your kids for good grades

Should students get paid for good grades? It can be a tough decision, but here’s why you shouldn’t pay kids for good grades.

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I wrote a series on kids, money and allowance.  It basically talked about teaching kids about money, giving them an allowance, and what they do with their allowance.  I read several comments that said we shouldn’t give our kids money for chores, however, we should pay them for good grades instead.  It got me thinking…

boy lying on hardwood floor and reading a book

Why you shouldn’t pay your kids for good grades.

Good grades is the reward.  

The reward for hard work IS the grade you receive.  Sometimes an A is easy to get for some kids.  For others, it’s hard work and seeing that A (or B) on the report is a huge confidence boost.  Hard work on a consistent basis really does pay off.  Pulling up a C or a D to a A or B is a great accomplishment and they should feel proud of themselves for that accomplishment.

For high school students, good grades can turn into cash in the form of scholarship money for a college education.

Receiving praise and recognition from teachers and peers is a reward.

Every quarter there is an award ceremony at my son’s school.  If you are on the A or A-B honor roll you are recognized for your achievement and called up on stage.  After the ceremony the parents walk down and say hi to their kids.  Most of the parents are congratulating their kids and friends, telling them and the teacher, “Good work.”.

When your kids have a good test scores or report card, make sure to tell them you are proud. You can even make some brownies to celebrate.

overhead view of kids sitting next to a wall and reading.

Paying kids doesn’t make kids smarter.

Some kids just can’t make an A or B no matter how hard they work.  Sometimes they may not get a concept or screw up on a test.  If they were working and trying hard, you don’t want to penalize them by paying them a lower amount because they had rough time. Sometimes getting a C is the best they could do.

Paying students a cash reward won’t make them like school or make them want to study more.

Kids will focus on the reward and not school.

My one son, who is 7, would ask me daily about how much money I would give him if I paid for grades.  He would talk about what he was buying the entire quarter.  I don’t want him focusing on that.  I want him focusing on his spelling words and math worksheets.

I’m not sure younger children will work harder for an entire quarter for a cash incentive. That’s a long time to stay motivated!

girl sitting at desk on tablet

Grades last forever, the money is spent.

If I gave my kids money for grades, my boys would have me drive to the store as soon as I gave it to them.  The would want a video game, nerf gun or candy.  They would play with it for a little bit and it would be forgotten.  The feeling and satisfaction of good grades will last a lot longer than anything I could buy them.

Should kids get paid for good grades?

Each family has different methods and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t give your kids money for grades.  I am telling you why I don’t.  Each child and family is different and you may have different parenting methods.  

I do give my kids a small allowance for chores.  I do this because I want to teach them about money and personal finance.

 Do you give your kids cash incentives for grades, chores, or both?


Wednesday 9th of March 2022

Then why'd you read the article?