Should You Pay for an “A”?

There is a lot of controversy about whether children should be paid for good grades.  Many parents argue that it motivates their children, teaches the importance of an education, and helps their kids learn that effort brings rewards.  After all, one would expect to get paid more for excellent work when one is employed.  However, most experts would argue against paying for good grades.  According to Psychology Today, when children are paid cash for grades, this is what can be expected, based on current research:

pay for an A

  • First, if there is a very low level of interest in school, motivation for study should improve.
  • Second, for subjects that students love to hate, such as math, scores should improve.
  • Third, for more popular subjects there will be little effect.
  • Fourth, once the incentive program ends, grades will fall in all subjects.
  • Finally, students who participate in a reward program will experience an enduring loss of interest in learning for its own sake.

Better than paying for grades, learning and homework should be programmed into the daily routine.  As suggested by “The key is to structure the after-school routine in a ‘When-Then’ format so that homework comes before seeing friends, computer time, soccer practice and other activities your child enjoys. That way, you can tell him, ‘When your homework is finished, then you can use your phone’ or ‘When your homework is finished, then we’ll leave for soccer practice.’ Let your child have some input, and then stick to the same routine every day so it becomes the law in your house.”

            Be sure to encourage your children with praise for their efforts.  Expect the best from them, let them know that you have confidence in their abilities, and then put away your wallet!

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