Grades and Rewards

"Report Card" by Kelley Wenzel (2012) via Flickr. All rights reserved.

“Report Card” by Kelley Wenzel (2012) via Flickr. All rights reserved.

As a child I was paid a few dollars for each good grade by my parents. I was not paid and was instead lectured when I received bad grades. I realized that school and grades were my responsibility. When I was in high school my sister dated a guy whose parents paid him $100 for straight A’s on his report card. He could make up to $300/school year. My sister of course challenged my parents to do the same for me and her. They thought it was a great way to encourage good grades. We made lots of money in high school. Money was a great motivator for us. However, school was not difficult for either of us.

As a parent my husband and I decided early on not to pay our children for good grades. We reward them during conferences with a book from the book fair at school. When they receive good report cards we go to Grater’s, locally they give a child scoop for A’s; Krispy Kreme donuts, they give a donut for each A up to 6; and Orange Leaf, which gives a few free ounces of frozen yogurt for good grades. As parents we have come to understand that our expectations for each child’s grades are different from the other. We would like to see straight A’s. However, if they are trying their best, turning in homework, studying for tests, and giving it their all they don’t need an A to impress me.

Last week we cashed in on the report cards at Grater’s for some free ice cream. We also walked away from Krispy Kreme with 23 free donuts (it was also National Donut day)!

Every parent motivates their children and teens differently. Please leave a comment, to share with the parents who will read this blog, about what works best in your family.

Copyright 2015 Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp
Photo: “Report Card” by Kelley Wenzel (2012) via Flickr. All rights reserved.


About Author

Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp - mom of 4 teens/wife for 20+ years. Lori has been writing at her own website Faith Filled Mom. She writes about the journey of faith we live daily and the ability to recognize God. She is a retreat director at Sacred Heart Academy HS. She just earned her MA in Pastoral Ministry as well as a certification in spiritual direction.


  1. Kelly Guest on

    I homeschool until high school, so grade are not an issue until then. Boy, do they find out fast that other students are paid for A’s. I explain to my children about God’s and our expectations that they use the talents and gifts God has given them, and never to “bury” all or even part of them. However, when my kids turned 16/17 and start looking for a car (for which they have been saving), their father and I pitch in and let them know it is because they have proven themselves responsible “with the little things.”

  2. Thank you for your article. We pay our kids at the semester mark so they are only receiving a cash reward twice a year. We have always told our children that their job right now (the school years) is to get good grades. Like any job they will have in the future, they will be paid for their hard work. Sometimes it’s cash and sometimes it’s the feeling of accomplishment for doing something without getting paid. Our children always seem to be responsible with their spending so we purposefully take a trip to the book store or encourage them to save it for vacation. When they spend their own money, they are taking ownership.

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