Do You Incentivize Your Kids for Good Grades?

It’s been an interesting couple of months. My son has been adjusting to our move across the country, and he’s started middle school. Overall, he’s been making the adjustments pretty well, but there are still a few hiccups here and there.

He did have some difficulties at one point in getting used to bringing his homework home, or paying attention in class. We’ve been thinking about how to help him keep his grades up. For the most part, he does fine. It’s not as though his grades are horrible. However, there are a couple of classes that he doesn’t enjoy, and it’s hard to keep him motivated to do good work.

We’ve never really had much of an incentive program for our son’s schooling in the past. We usually just looked at his report card at the end of the semester, congratulated him on his good grades, and let him pick a place to eat out. At the end of the school year, we gave him a video game, or a nice LEGO set. There wasn’t much of a program in place to reward him specifically for grades because he always just did well.

It’s a new ballgame here in Pennsylvania. Not only is the curriculum a little more challenging, but he’s in middle school, and more responsible for his homework and his grades. So now we’re thinking more in terms of incentives for good grades.

good grades

Our Incentive Program

I’ve never been a big fan of paying for grades. I understand that money can be a powerful motivator, but I have misgivings about turning everything into a financial transaction. I’d like him to learn to appreciate rewards that are more than just money, just as I don’t pay him for chores because I want him to learn that sometimes we do things because we’re part of a family.

So I decided to think of some incentives that he might enjoy. He’s been asking to learn to play the saxophone, so I told him that he needs to show he can manage his homework if he wants to participate in extracurricular activities. This prompted him to come up with a system to help him remember his assignments, and things have improved.

But I also want to give him something to work toward. So I decided to discuss incentives with my son. I asked him what he thought might be a worthwhile goal to work toward. He said he wanted to take a trip to New York City or Washington, D.C., both of which are within an easy train ride of our location. I agreed that this was a good reward, but this type of reward meant that he needs to show me a straight A marking period for a day trip of that nature. If he gets a couple B marks, I’m not upset, but that’s the baseline to continue to participate in extracurriculars. If he wants something special, then he has to perform at a higher level.

He mulled that over, and agreed with me. Now he’s determined to get that day trip, and his grades are coming back up.

What do you think? How do you incentivize your kids to get good grades?

About the Author

Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. See more of her writing at Her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger is available from Amazon.