Achievements can be described as validation for most people, not only because they bring a sense of satisfaction but they also come with rewards. For most parents it brings happiness when their children perform to the best of their abilities and get high marks. This brings the idea of paying their children as a way of encouraging them to get the best grades. Therefore, parents are always on the lookout for ways to encourage their children to get their best grades.
An article published by PBS Parents, has however raised a question of whether parents are not raising their little ones with a sense of entitlement when rewarding them to do well at school. The article states that while motivating children with incentives of money, toys or even a special activity can be very effective, some experts believe this prevents youngsters from developing their own sense of responsibility.
The article suggests that in order to ensure the effectiveness of the rewards, parents need to understand that kids can begin to understand the concept of a reward around age three. “Developmental age is just as important as chronological age. The main thing is that toddlers are past the stage in which they are locked into oppositional battles. Younger kids may need more immediate goals, while older kids can understand working toward longer-term rewards. Incentives can be small, and they don’t need to be money or a toy. Even a trip to the library or park can be a treat,” the article reads.
Ebba Silvanus, a Life Skills teacher says that rewarding ones children to get good grades motivates them to do their homework and study for tests. “In many cases, kids are intelligent enough to do well, but lack the drive to get things done. Therefore, rewarding them with something when report cards come or when tests are handed back can be a powerful way to encourage them to do their best,” she says.
Andrew Kamati says that he used to be rewarded by his parents and it was nice working harder knowing that you are going to be rewarded instantly and that you won’t have to wait for a school certificate at the end of the year.
“Being rewarded taught me something about responsibility knowing that I have to work really hard for something and if I fail I am not going to get what I am working for. That’s why I put in a lot of effort.
It’s also a very nice thing to know that your parents are proud of you to a point where they will go out of their way or their budget to make you feel appreciated for what you have done. And most importantly I learnt that as a child I did not have to beg for something, I knew that if I worked hard for something, I will get it and that’s why rewarding is done.
It took me to a point where I use to receive awards during school award ceremonies every year. It’s not just a reward that you get in the end that helps; it is also that certificate which is going to be there forever. Being rewarded encourages you,” narrates Andrew.
However, Ebba says that there could be drawbacks to rewarding a child. “Being rewarded for having done well in school might work well in the beginning, but your child may come to expect a reward for good grades, which means you’ll only be able to get him or her to work hard if you hand over something every time. What happens when you don’t promise to reward them anything? Will they still put in the same effort to get good grades? These are some of the things that need to be considered by parents,” she advises.
Andrew remembers that he once got a gift that he did not want which was discouraging. “At the beginning I felt like I didn’t have to put so much effort in what I was doing anymore, but later on I changed my mind. I told myself that if I worked harder I was going to be rewarded with something that I definitely wanted. It may be discouraging when your parents don’t give you what they promised but if you have the right mindset you will work harder to get what you want,” he says.
Ebba states that how much a parent rewards their child is up to them. She says that parents can choose whether they want to reward their children with what they can afford or with the child asks for. “Some parents offer monetary rewards for raising grades in certain subjects or for passing tests worth a lot of points. Therefore, as a parent you need to talk to your child about what he or she feels is fair and what might increase their motivation to work harder,” she says.
Moreover, Ebba says that motivating your child to do well in school does not always require a promise for something. “There are plenty of ways to encourage and reward your child for good grades without offering anything materialistic or monetary. Rewarding your child for an achievement on a test or exam with praise could motivate your child to do well the next time around. Going out for a celebratory meal or other activity is effective as well.
Help your children feel competent by helping them study and do homework. Knowing they can do it is often enough of a motivational factor to help them get good grades,” concludes Ebba.