Report card season is upon us.  Time for the kids to show off what they have - or haven't - accomplished so far this school year.  For some parents, report card day is filled with anxiety and arguments over whether or not grades could have, or should have, been higher.  For others, the day is filled with pats on the back for a job well done.  Parents on both sides of the fence often offer rewards - monetary or otherwise - to inspire or reward kids for bringing home good grades.  But should they?


According to a study conducted by the American Institute of CPA's, 48 percent of parents reward kids with cash for good grades.  Parents pay an average of $16.60 for each "A" received.  That's a pretty good rate!  But should a child's only motivation to study be in lining his pockets? Shouldn't she want to get good grades for the sake of learning?  Some experts think that handing out cash for good grades may actually undermine a child's own motivation to succeed.


Still, if your kids just aren't motivated to do it on their own, experts agree that its better to reward good grades than punish a child for bringing home a less than stellar report card.


Scholastic has some good tips for rewarding kids for their academic achievement without breaking the bank.  They suggest spontaneous rewards - such as a family night at a restaurant - that is neither planned nor expected for every report card.  They also emphasize the need to praise and reward hard work, rather than just grades.  A child who works very hard to bring a "C" up to a "B" may deserve more of a pat on the back than one who consistently achieves all "A's" with little effort.  


In our house, my kids get heaps of praise when they do well on a test or anytime they go the extra mile to complete a project or learn something new.  But we really don't do anything other than pats on the back for the grades brought home on report cards.  I know that I'm lucky in that my kids really enjoy learning, but I also think that they fact that they aren't "paid" for good grades makes them more meaningful all around.  


That's what works for us, and I am well aware that this approach does not work for everyone.


What works in your house?  Do you reward your kids for good grades?



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