Should You Pay Your Children for Doing Chores and Good Grades?

May 17, 2019

Wondering if it’s a good or bad idea to pay your children for doing chores and getting good grades? It’s a tricky situation and one that’s not so easily clear-cut. Most parents have bribed their kids at least one point in time to get them just to do whatever they needed to get done. And to be fair, sometimes it really can feel like the only way to get kids to do something – especially when it’s important, like doing well in school and learning to help out at home. But can this method of bribery backfire, and are we doing more harm than good by conditioning our kids to expect rewards for good behaviour? Let’s explore more about the pros and cons of this topic below.




It Does Encourage Improvement

If you’ve ever offered to reward your child with cash, whether it was for a glowing grade A, performing their weekly chores, or for some other reason, you’ve likely seen how effective this type of incentivized setup can be. Research has shown that offering some form of reward does on average make a difference at encouraging kids to improve.


It Teaches Responsibility

Getting children to participate and help out at home, even in simple ways, also teaches them about responsibility. Paying them to keep up with these habits can help to foster a greater sense of independence and confidence at an early age, which can help to set a good foundation as they continue to develop into adults.

It Helps In Those Fussy Situations

Children can be stubborn at times, and as parents, you know that sometimes offering a reward can be the only method to get them to budge. So it can prove to be a very helpful tactic in those sticky situations when your child will simply not do what you want or need them to do.




Less Long-term Engagement

Though rewards can motivate our children to get those good grades, set the table or follow through with their responsibilities around the home, research has shown that the incentive of money is one that often results in poor long-term engagement. As kids get used to the idea of being rewarded with money, they often become less inclined to really put in effort beyond the bare minimum. So while they may be doing their part, it’s common for them to merely skim the surface to get the grade.


Teaches Them To Focus on Rewards Rather Than Learning

On a similar note, it encourages kids to place a priority on the reward rather than the process of learning. This can interfere with their ability to connect and actually absorb the material. As a result, it can undermine their motivation to be engaged and productive learners in life, which can influence their career path and how they contribute to the world as they grow. Offering payment can also give more power to your child – if they decide the cash incentive is not enough, you can end up being either more out of pocket or out of luck.


What to do Instead:

Rather than paying your children for doing chores or getting good grades, try to stick with verbal praise instead. Tell your child how proud you are of their accomplishments and grades. Hosting a little celebration after a job well done, (after their last exam, good report card etc.) is far more effective at keeping kids engaged and motivated for the right reasons instead of promising upfront rewards right off the bat.

Remember to focus on encouraging positive, long-term habits that will help them grow into engaged, educated and respectable adults. Emphasizing their actions and efforts shows them that persistence can pay off while teaching them the proper tools to navigate through life.

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