Do you think that report card grades need to be rewarded with money, toys, or other things?

Evelyn - posted on 01/12/2013 ( 19 moms have responded )

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Basically, I have read on some other threads of rewards for grades. They can be for the report card as a whole or so much for A, B, or C. While I think it is okay some of the time to reward for good grades altogether, I think its not teaching the kids that hard work is reward itself. I never got money for my grades. I got praise and encouragement if the grades needed to be a bit better. I also have a kid who has struggled with school and even with resource help has really had to work himself to the bone to get good grades. He worries about doing well. But he from what teachers say comes to class ready to work, with all materials needed to do the class work, and pays attention. He makes sure he meets deadlines on assignments and he gets really excited when he is making high grades. He does not expect to get money, video games, new movies or anything when he does get the good grades. I praise him alone with other family members and that is encourage enough for him to do better and work harder.

Why do parents feel that they have to give things or money to get the same thing I get with praise? Kids need to learn that even though they get that certain set of grades that in the world outside of school, no employer is going to reward them or give a raise because they do the work. I even get told that I am doing well by my supervisor all the time. She knows I work my tail off to get the job done and done right. She knows that I take my job seriously. Kids today are getting the idea that they will get whatever they want handed to them instead of working for it. I think that rewarding kids each time they got the right grades is one way we do this.

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Sally - posted on 01/27/2013

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In many families, school is the kids "job". Would you keep going to work if they didn't pay you? I didn't think so.

Janice - posted on 01/22/2013

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I think that verbal praise should be enough most of the time. However, there are times when a physical reward is warranted. If your child is one that struggles and makes leaps on a report card then that should be rewarded. Or if its an occasional thing such as Jodi giving her son 500$ toward a car for good grades is ok. But a system where a kid gets money or toys for every test or every A & B on every report card is unnecessary. I also think Kelly's idea of going out to dinner is great since its more about praise than a tangible item.

In real life you are lucky to even get a compliment or a thank you from your boss let alone a raise for doing your job well. You need to have some intrinsic motivation so that you can plow through the unappreciated work and hopefully be rewarded in the long term.

Of course there may be times when your child has become unmotivated and may need that extra incentive to get back to a good place, but I just dont think its needed all the time.

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Karen - posted on 09/16/2013

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We celebrate the totality of the effort rather than the individual grades. That is, if she gets all A's but barely got them because she didn't do her best, that is not something to be celebrated. If she gets mostly A's but a B or two because she didn't do her best work, that is not to be celebrated. If she works hard and does her best the good grades will come and a reward is due even if it is B's and C's. The reason I focus on the effort and not necessarily the letter grade is because I had a Professor in College who believed that no one deserved an A because no one is perfect. Therefore you could work the hardest at his class than any others and would still only get a B+. Unless all grades are completely objective you may run across those situations and it won't matter what effort you put in. So I say, reward the effort as that is the message I am trying to pass along.

Evelyn - posted on 09/10/2013

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John Duffy III, what is wrong with a B and the rest A's. What if that is a difficult class for this kid and that is the best they could do? Some kids might bring home all A's one time but the next might have a lesser grade in a class or two. I think they should be praised that they did as good as long as its understood by the parent what the kid is capable of and not set expectations up too high. I have a child that has learning issues and when he does make a high grade he gets praised for doing so well, but if he has one grade less than that, I do know its the best he could do and still praise him for working hard and trying.

John Duffy - posted on 09/10/2013

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Yes, if a child {boy or girl} has all A's but with one B, hell no, however if a child has all A's for {effort or learning} despite getting a B, C, or a D yes, however the child needs tutoring and can get a smaller reward.

Janice - posted on 01/27/2013

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Dont we pay our kids enough in the form of a home and food and clothing?

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I feel that the grade itself doesn't matter. It is the effort put forth that matters. There are kids that can slack off all day and get As, while there are others that work really hard for Cs.

At the same time, if a child has been struggling and really trying hard in a class. They get their report card home and it shows a huge improvement over the course of the year, yes they should get some type of praise. As to what that is, would depend on the child.

[deleted account]

For whatever reason, only the first two posts showed up before I posted, so now a lot of my comments just sound repetitive and out of context. Sorry.

That said, I would not consider Jodi's $500 to her son a bad reward, even though it could be thought of in terms of "a wad of cash," because she is helping him work toward another goal. Obviously, he's been saving for the car for a while and is almost there, she's giving him a small break in exchange for a big effort on his part to do better in school.

I also believe that rewards throughout a child's school career keep them focused on the long term goal of graduating high-school. Kids can't see that far ahead, we have to keep them on track and smaller rewards for individual accomplishments along the way help do that (but they have to be spaced--not every single test or quiz, but like.....longer, short term goals....if that makes sense).

[deleted account]

We reward J for all A's on his report cards by taking him out to dinner with his grandparents at his favorite restaurant. I like this much better than giving him a toy or a wad of cash because dinner with his grandparents focuses more on all of us telling him how proud we are, how much we respect his efforts, and letting him enjoy the praise; it focuses on what he put forth rather than just the end result.

I do not reward for B's or C's because I know J is capable of A's. IF he struggled to get a B and I know he put forth his best effort to get that B, we'd still take him to dinner, but right now, I know a B is not his best. Every kid is different.

I do know some parents who buy their kids a toy every time they make an A or B on a test or quiz! J takes at LEAST three quizzes/tests a week--I'm sure we'd be broke if we gave him a $15 toy for every one of them! But some parents too. Another parent in J's class gives her daughter a sweet for every day that she doesn't get a Yellow (a mark for bad behavior) and every A or B on a quiz or test. This girl is in 2nd grade and she weighs more than me! I think in her case, the fact that food is the reward for everything is turning food into an emotional crutch and is doing serious harm to both her body and her ability to deal with emotion on her own. So just like toys, I think food rewards need to be kept in check as well.

I think it is best not to reward every single quiz or text, but to reward a long term effort. This allows kids to learn that just because the bomb one test, it doesn't kill their whole effort. Just like in life--if one bad thing happens, they can keep going and still get to their goals. Whereas if you reward every little thing, they learn that a failure is always a failure--no reason to keep trying.

Jodi - posted on 01/13/2013

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But again, that's your subjective opinion. And I AM still rewarding with money or things. He is due to purchase his car this year, so it is hardly a future thing.

I don't think it is a matter of people thinking a kid NEEDS that, but rather, thinking a kid DESERVES it. They have worked hard if they are getting a report card full of As. I don't know how it works over there, but here, believe me, an A is not easy to obtain. Only about 1 or 2 kids in a class will get one. Most students sit on a C. So that makes the A students the very top students, and they have to work for it. If you don't work hard, you CAN'T achieve an A.

Evelyn - posted on 01/13/2013

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That 500 is towards something in the future though. But I am talking at the moment that grade card comes home. It seems instead of focusing on how well a child did because of hard work and letting that be enough of a reward, people think kids need things and money.

Jodi - posted on 01/13/2013

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Isn't what you consider "excessive" a subjective thing?

And don't get me wrong, I consider $280 on one report card excessive, and my kids would never see that from me, but to someone else, maybe it makes sense. As I said, it is subjective. For instance, this year, if my son does better on his school work than he did last year (because he needs to), I intend to contribute $500 towards purchasing a car. Is that excessive?

I don't think we can assume that kids don't get a sense of internal achievement just because they appear on the outside to be doing it only for those sort of rewards.

Evelyn - posted on 01/13/2013

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What I am talking is excessive rewards...those that come all the time. And this day and age unless parents let their kids know about how it is going to work, then they expect things. I figured that my praise was enough for my kids. I did get them treats sometimes but it was usually a spur of moment thing. That way it was a surprise and they knew that next time they would not get it but that I would let them know how well I thought they had done. I am not saying that telling them about the college and all that is the goal of reward. I am saying for the short term...the term report cards. Praise should be enough for the kids. Small rewards every once in a while yes. Money, I think sends the wrong messages.

Denikka - posted on 01/13/2013

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I think that some of the rewards can be excessive. I remember one kid in my elementary school who got $75 per A, $50 per B, and $25 per C that he received on each report card (3 times a year). The family was not well off, but they struggled through to do it for him. And he was consistently in the high A/low B range, so that was a LOT of money (6 subjects I believe so between $300 and $450 each report card).

I did get rewards for each report card. I was a decent student and got pretty good grades. So whenever I got honor role, the family (me and my grandparents) went out to dinner. We VERY rarely ate out at any other time, so it was a special treat :)
I think special treats are fine. A small reward for a job well done. As Jodi said, employees get rewards when they do a good job. Even their paycheck can be seen as a reward for doing their job. A child cannot be expected to focus on such long reaching *rewards* as *getting a good grade at 10 is going to let me get into a good college and get a good job later in life*. How would you feel about working your butt off now for a reward that MAY show up 10-15 years down the road.
I see nothing wrong with small rewards. And, again, as Jodi said, they've been PROVEN to work.
However, I DON'T agree with massive rewards for insignificant effort. Or for placing the reward out of the reach of the child. I know for some kids, a B IS the best the can achieve. If they do their work consistently, show up to class prepared, get involved in class discussions, and put forth their best effort and still only get a B, that should be rewarded just as much as a child who has a little easier time, but got an A.
To me, it's the effort put in that should be rewarded just as much as the end result.
And I think there's a huge difference between a reward and a bribe.

Evelyn - posted on 01/13/2013

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While that may be true, a lot of the kids I have seen growing up and even as an adult, and some I know get the rewards also expect rewards for EVERYTHING that they do. One mom posted on one thread that she owed her kid 280 bucks for grades on one report card. I think that is excessive. I really think that kids rely on rewards to feel good about themselves instead of learning to feel good about self without rewards of material items. Its nice to get something for what you do but in the long run you are not going to get those rewards for all things done. You have to learn that though you did not get that reward you still did a good job. I also have a problem with rewarding all kids on a baseball team in the little league areana when only one or two deserve the rewards. THis sends a wrong message.

Jodi - posted on 01/13/2013

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Evelyn, have you ever read about Pavlov and his dogs? Believe me, ongoing rewards work - they eventually lead to the child associating the *feeling* of positivity with the achievement of the grade without the reward. They may still receive the reward, but the feeling of pride they have is associated with the grade.

If you don't believe in doing it, that's fine, but it is proven to work, and how each individual parent handles it with their children, who they know best, is up to them. Different children, with different personality traits, need different kinds of rewards to achieve the same end.

Even as a classroom teacher, I use rewards (obviously not money) as an incentive to achieve results from students. It is highly encouraged because it WORKS.

Studies have shown that a sense of achievement is highly associated with not only parents who encourage independence of their children in childhood, but ALSO with praise AND rewards for success. Motivation to achieve is attained from both internal (excitement of achieving is an internal reward) and external sources (monetary, praise, etc), and it is a complex interaction of the two. There is absolutely nothing wrong with rewards of a material nature if it work for that particular child and the end is achieved.

Evelyn - posted on 01/13/2013

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What I refer to is the constant rewarding of grades. There are kids who get things very easily and have no trouble learning the materials provided in the lessons. There are some that do not care if they do the work or not (lazy). There are yet other children who can not make the grade but do work their little minds to no end to learn it to get any kind of grade. So do the kids who have troubles learning not get rewarded if they bring home and undesired grade because they are still trying to grasp the idea of lessons to be learned? Its not fair to that child if all around him or her get rewarded ALL THE TIME.

Constant rewards do not teach a child to be proud of what they have learned. It does not teach them that hard work is reward too because they have learned the subject or lesson. They do get get the sense of pride that goes with that hard work. Constant rewards also do make a child want to get the high grades so they can expect that reward. If they do not produce the grade then when the reward does not come one time, it defeats them and the purpose of learning. I think that praise is the best tool in rewards that a child can get.

Praise often reinforces the whole thing. It tells the child when you praise them that you approve of what they have done. This makes them want to do it more or continue with the desired grades. It helps them to learn that they worked hard and that you are proud as a parent of it, then it gives them a chance to learn to feel proud of themselves over the grades. They can learn from this that hard work pays off and it is something to be proud of. Its a natural reward of its own.

As for material rewards, once in a while is fine but not all the time. I do sometimes take my son for a treat to eat or ice cream. I do not give money or toys or video games. I might let him pick out a movie to watch for the night and rent it. And there are other times for no reason I will get him something but it is not money or more expensive things. But I just do not believe that money or material kinds of rewards are the best way to teach a child about self reward in hard work and being proud of the accomplishments.

Jodi - posted on 01/13/2013

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How is rewarding good grades (whether it be money, go out for dinner, praise - all forms of reward) giving kids the idea that they will get whatever they want handed to them instead of working for it. They had to work hard for the grade didn't they? An A isn't something handed to a child on a platter! In fact, for some children, a C isn't handed to them on a platter, but that is something to be rewarded for that child.

I also disagree that employers don't reward good work. I have seen good work rewarded in MANY workplaces I have worked in over the last 25 years with wage increases at annual review time, or a bonus, or even just something as simple as a team lunch. If you work additional hours, you get paid overtime rates or get additional holiday hours. If you do extremely well consistently, you get a promotion, where the pay and conditions are probably better. They are ALL forms of reward in the workplace that are commonplace.

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