Rewarding Kids for Good Grades (Minus the Big Bucks)

A+ PaperEvery three months during the school year, we come to this point where the kids bring home this piece of paper with cryptic marks on it hoping that maybe they’ll get some reward for all of their hard work during the school year.  And every time this happens, I sigh because I can’t reward my kids with money.  Let’s face it: the economy stinks, and if you’re used to rewarding your kids with money for good grades, you might just be breaking the bank nowadays.  That’s how it is.

But this summer I came up with a reward system for reading books, and I felt this might just do the trick for report cards too.  Our kids will bring the report cards home today, though I won’t get to see them until tomorrow (Wendy and Cinderella are at their mom’s, and Rapunzel didn’t go to school today due to illness).  Wendy will come home with a good report card as will Rapunzel, and Cinderella’s remarks has me worried about hers.  Hopefully we’ll be able to reward her too. Here are some of the things our kids get excited about when it comes to rewards without money:

  • Extra time on the computer: this is big for Wendy and Cinderella–not so much Tinkerbell and Rapunzel.  We give 15-minute increments, so every A would give them an additional 15 minutes (though it doesn’t have to be used up all at once).  I think we’d still want to reward Bs, so we might consider giving 5-10 minutes for every B.  This also works for the Wii, the iPod, whatever electronics you have in your house.
  • A chance to stay up late: of course, all of the kids would love this one.  Again, we like the 15-minute intervals, especially for those straight A students.  5-10 minutes for every B.
  • Extra dessert: This is another favorite.  I know you’re not supposed to reward with food, but there are other options to choose from if you don’t like this one.  Our kids love their dessert, and this would only allow one dessert per day for each A.
  • Your choice of movie: This isn’t as popular in our house, but it’s still a good one.  We watch a movie every Friday, so for the kid who likes to pick out the movie and usually has to settle, this will work.  His/her choice of the movie for each A.  You could also do this for the radio in the car.  Our girls always bicker over what to listen to, so this gives them the opportunity to be in charge for a while.
  • Quality time: we offer our younger daughters 30 minutes of extra “snuggle time”, since it’s most coveted, but this will work for older kids too–doing whatever they want to for one hour, half an hour.  If you’re busy like I am, this will mean a lot that you take some time out of your day to do what they want to do.
  • Special dinner: Some kids will appreciate just having their favorite meal for dinner.  For an all-around good report card, reward your child with their favorite dinner to show just how much you appreciate their hard work.

Additionally, some business will offer rewards for As on your child’s report card.  Keep an eye out around that time of the year or contact your local businesses to find out what they offer.  It seems to be different everywhere you go. How do you reward your children for their hard work?

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