Paying Kids for Good Grades - Currious

Updated on June 11, 2010
L.M. asks from Meriden, CT
25 answers

This really isn't a question, but I'm just currious to see what other moms have to say about the subject. I have never even considered paying my kids for good grades. I expect them to get A's and B's. At report card time, we let them know how proud we are of them and take them out to dinner. We don't go out very often, so it's a nice treat.

A few months ago a colleague mentioned that she was having some problems with her daughter in school, and they agreed to pay her $25 for each A and $20 for each B as an incentive. My comment was "I'd go bankrupt". Didn't give it too much thought, until my daughter came home the other day and said that they were discussing it in one of her classes, and appartently a lot of parents do this.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your responses. Like I mentioned, I had never even considered it nor I'm I considering it now. It's just that the subject has come up I was curious to know what other parents were doing and why.

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answers from Hartford on

Every kid is different and may need different incentives. I do not pay as of yet, but would not be opposed to it. We have tried very hard to not give negative consequences when it comes to grades. We have seen a drastic improvement since then and school work is no longer a battle. Instead we reward good grades and have seen a much more positive attitude toward school. So I think it is a case by case decision.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

My parents paid my brothers and I for grades from elementary all the way thru high school when we were growing up. My husband and I don't reward for something he is expected to do. We do praise him for his outstanding job and good work. The grandparents pay him for his grades and we are OK with that. I wouldn't pay him each time he picked up his shoes or said please or thank you. I reward if he goes above and beyond. The other day he offered to mow the front and back yard, that is my husbands job, that deserved a monetary reward! We have 2 dogs, if he does 'poop patrol' without being asked, that deserves a reward! We all HATE doing poop patrol.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tucson on

I have a 5th grader and a 3rd grader and i pay them $2 for each A , $1 for each B and they pay me $1 for each C and if they make below a C they do not get any money regardless of any other grades!

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answers from Portland on

This sort of incentive has actually been found to backfire in several ways. The kids are working for the money, but don't give a fig about the education, so they'll get the reward by any means possible, including cheating, or cramming for short-term test-taking.

Student motivation actually tends to drop over time. They aren't learning for the pleasure of learning, or investing in their future success, so the process of education becomes something like factory work. Kids try to get by with the least possible effort. Actual interest is not required. Not a mark of a happy or well-rounded student.

There is an exception, of sorts – I believe it's happening in New York. Students who are failing and dropping out are paid to stay in school. Educators point out that many of these kids are leaving for financial reasons – their families are poor, the kids want to get jobs so they can have some of the material goodies that students elsewhere get, or they're helping the family keep it together by flipping burgers or selling drugs.

Financial incentives may actually help under such dire circumstances. But paying for grades is not a great expectation to set up for the average, middle-class or higher student.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

...and people wonder why their kids aren't motivated and never leave home!

I'm with you 100%. I don't pay my kids to do things that they ought to be doing anyway, like getting straight A's and doing chores around the house. Their job is to go to school and work hard at their studies, and part of being a family is to share in the household chores. Paying them implies that they have the right not to do these things, which is simply not true. Now, like you, we do praise them when they do a great job, and straight A's will get them a dinner at a restaurant of their choice, but that's it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I think that when you get to $25 an A that you are PAYING kids--or trying to anyway. Having a reasonable incentive/reward for a job well done isn't necessarily going to get a struggling kid on the honor roll, but it may help them pay a bit more attention.

As kids, my brothers and I were given $1 an A or $20 for straight As. I was a nerd and a 4.0 student pretty much all the time. On the other hand, my older brother struggled all through school despite being offered obscene amounts of money to even get straight Bs. Turns out he has a minor case of dyslexia that the Marine Corps later diagnosed.

Even though I got good grades on my own, it really made me feel like my parents acknowledged all the hard work I had done...mostly unsupervised. In fact, I continued to extort the reward all the way through college. Hey, I was on a full ride isn't like they had to pay for my

I have to add...we NEVER got an allowance for doing our chores around the house. My parents took care of all of our basic needs, plus some of the wants. They always provided guidance for when we started babysitting about reinforcing the importance of saving for a rainy day.

You really just have to decide what it best for your family and adapt with the situation. It sounds to me like you are doing a great job.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I admit I didn't read all the posts but thought I'd chime in. I think it depends on the kid and situation.

Our soon to be 20 year old was a challenged to get through school from the time he was in 1st grade! We tried paying in middle school but it still didn't motivate him. He came to me in high school and said "So N So's mom pays $500 for honor roll!" I told him to GO FOR IT! I would pay if he would do it. *We've known for years that he certainly has the capability but just not the effort. He lives life to the fullest and little things like reading and homework are highly overrated! And NO we didn't have to pay up!

Our daughter who just finished her freshman year in high school on the other hand is highly motivated and we would go broke.

I guess what I've learned is that the motivation comes from within. You can bribe if it helps, but don't be surprised if it doesn't.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I do reward my children for A's but it's never a set amount and sometimes the reward isn't even money -- it could be going out to dinner at Rainforest Cafe. When we do give them money, it's usually only a dollar or two, which is perfectly fine with our first grader and kindergartener. I guess I'm against giving them a set amount each time because I don't want to establish that expectancy or sense of entitlement to the money. I'd like them to be happy with whatever they receive.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My wife and I have 8 kids. We reward good behavior and punish bad or poor behavior.

My wife and I lived in a town with a dinner threatre. My wife and I like the arts and we went on a regular basis. The kids were always wanting to go. We decided we would take whoever got straight As with us. When we got there I would tell the announcer that we brought our son or daughter because they got straight A's. The dinner threatre would make the announcement and bring out a piece of cake with a lit sparkler in it. I would tell our waitress to bring my son(s) or daughter(s) a "mocktail" at the announcement. Several times the adults in the threatre gave my kids a standing ovation. (That's a WOW(!!!) for positive reinforcement.)

Other parents did the same thing. I don't know what their rules were.

Result: I got one Validictorian. I got one Salutitorian, and 3 honor students. We moved away before my other kids could be motivated by the dinner threatre deal. I'd do it all over again in a heart beat. The money I spent on Dinner Threatre tickets, mocktails and meals was dwarfed by the amount of money my kids earned with scholarships. My Salutitorian is finishing his studies at the USC Medical School. Only in America can a man from poverty flats have a son graduate medical school. Talk about worth it ! ! ! !

The Dinner Threatre ended up as one of their favorite family memories.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We don't pay for grades either. I really like Peg M.'s post. There are plenty of other ways to motivate students (sports or other extra-curricular activities - no pass/no play, or rewarding with something other than money). As an AP English teacher, I feel it is important to instill the value of education, not just the importance of getting good grades. When paying for grades, there is a danger of money becoming the goal rather than education being the goal. As others have mentioned however, you have to do what works for your family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Even if my kids were in government school I wouldn't pay for good grades. Good grades are their own reward and I want my kids to do things because they hold an intrinsic value toward character building, not because they are getting paid to do it. They have the rest of their lives to get paid for their work, right now is the time to develop good work habits and the finished product has to be the source of satisfaction if you're going to do that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We don't pay for grades, but will celebrate report cards by going out to dinner with the family. The kid with the best report card gets to pick the restaurant. The girls' grandpa will give them $1 per A, which I think is very sweet of him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I don't get paid for doing a great job on the dishes or laundry... I wouldn't pay a child for good grades. Dishes and laundry is my job, excelling in school are the childrens jobs. No paycheck for me, no paycheck for them... not for doing what they're supposed to be doing :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

In earlier years, we did pay for grades....but as our 15 yr old got older we still paid for grades BUT it is the exceptional ones we pay for (she got too expensive!!) Her "job" is to get good grades, she is in all honors/ap classes as well as cheerleader and in orchestra. She has a lot on her plate.

We pay for how she manages it. She organizes herself well to maintain the good grades and manage her cheer and orchestra. I never have to prod her to get a project started or completed. We compensate her on her skills to take the job she has and do it well.

She has high goals and expectations so we set them a little higher so she can earn more each year. Our daughter thrives on that and she is not thriving on earning $$ she is thriving on setting goals, making them and being rewarded.

I know some do not agree with me. However, she has college visits scheduled as early as this summer (she graduates in 2013) and is working very hard toward HER goal. We happen to have a very strong willed, driven child and she will make her mark where she sees fit someday with FULL SUPPORT from her parents.



answers from Los Angeles on

We don't pay for grades simply because we cannot afford it. My dad usually throws down some cash for them which is nice, and very much appreciated.

My kids, like yours, know what is expected. Try hard and do your best. They know we are proud of their accomplishments. They also know that we do not have the kind of money to reward grades with money. Usually we will do a movie in a movie theatre that we have wanted to see. (Normally we are dvd movie watchers). Or I might buy them something small at Target.

Other than that they have to count on Grandpa.



answers from New York on

My brother and I were not paid to get good grades, we got good grades because that is what our parents expected of us...period!!

I will NOT pay my kids as an incentive to work hard and do well in school.

That said, my grandparents would give us $5 or something when we had good report cards. I'm sure my parents will probably do the same. I think that is different - grandparents are there to spoil the kids LOL!! They can do stuff that parents can't do!



answers from Anchorage on

I pay my boys $5 for an A, $3 or a B, $0 for C's, D's, and F's. It is not a lot, but it gives them a little something extra to show we recognize their hard work. This may change in high school, but these amounts seem good for Elementary aged kids.


answers from Albany on

I do not pay my kids for their excellent grades. However, when they go to their father's house they bring their report cards and generally come home with 50 or 100 bucks each.



answers from Denver on

My husband's ex-wife thought it would be a good idea to pay their son for his good grades, but we refused. He is expected to do well, and not at our expense! When I was in elementary school / junior high the grocery store that my mother worked for offered some incentives the the children of their employees. If you had one "A", you would get a free movie rental, 2 "A's" and you would get the movie rental and a frozen pizza, 3 would be the movie, pizza and 2 cookies from the bakery, etc. That was more exciting for me and my brother than money, we got to have a movie night that we "paid" for! It just seems to me that there are other ways to give incentives to kids for good grades that you don't have to hand over a ton of money for.


answers from Dallas on

I didn't pay my kids, but I wouldn't be against it if it worked for someone else, or if one of my kids had needed that incentive.

Before graduating college I confided in a professor that I was worried I would get tired of my chosen profession. I had just finished hard work doing an internship and studying. He wisely said to me, "The difference when you get a job is that you will get paid." If kids work hard and do well at their not pay them? You can set the salary though......and you don't have to keep up with the other parents.



answers from Sacramento on

LOL. My mom "paid me" for As but it was $1 for each A on a semester report card! That was in high school. So at most it was $6 and I would take myself to the movies. Around the beginning of junior year she sort of forgot about it (I think she was out of town the day report cards came), the world kept turning and she figured "oh well, we're done with that."

The big payment for As came when I was named a National Achievement Scholar and was offered a full ride academic scholarship (tuition, room, board and stipend) at every university to which I applied.



answers from Houston on

No I don't pay for grades. My kids get a special day (usually going to the park and out to lunch or maybe a movie) to celebrate their achievement.

My only concern is that we should be celebrating and reconizing the effort and hardwork of the kids, not the resulting grade. If a child studies every night, goes after school for extra help, and earns a C that to me is worth a lot more than a child that is able get an A without cracking a book or taking a single note in class. If I was going to set up a reward system, it would be based on effort, not grades.

I was one of those kids who skated by through school. I graduated in the top 10% of my class in high school (and it was a tough high school) and went to a great college. Unfortunately, since I never had to really study or work hard for good grades in high school, college hit me like a ton of bricks! I ended up getting through, but I had to change majors because I was in way over my head and I still have a lot of regrets.

I just think parents are putting the importance on the wrong thing when they make the reward system about the grades. Not to mention all of the workforce examples we can probably all think of that will be a huge shock to these kids when they get there. How many of you have gotten a glowing review from your boss only to find out that there are no raises this year? Or worse, everyone is taking a pay cut, but thanks for doing such a stellar job anyway! Will these kids who expect to be paid for their performance, quit their jobs? Will they start slacking because there's no monetary benefit to working hard?

Good luck,


answers from Kansas City on

are you crazy? that price is outrageous, for one thing. i think my grandparents would give $1 for all b's and $5 for all a's or something. my parents didn't give me anything, good grades were expected. i think you are describing exactly what is wrong with "kids these days". ridiculous. hold your ground mom. i agree with catherine c too - same goes for chores.


answers from Dallas on

I was not paid for good grades and I got only one B my whole HS years. I then graduated Summa Cum Laude in college. My children will not be paid to get good grades. It will be expected of them and if they slack off and get poor grades there will be consequences and I will be standing over their shoulders making sure they do extra work given by ME. Paying children to make good grades or to get certain grades on a state test is ridiculous! So if your employer doesn't pay you a bonus every time you do a good job at work you are just going to slack off? One word: FIRED! :-)

Maybe small rewards like going to a special dinner or getting ice cream... that would be alright in my mind but NOT $25/$20 for each good grade.



answers from Kansas City on

Everytime my son brings home a good grade card he gets $5

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