It seems to be a common challenge for many families to choose how good grades in school will be recognized at home. If you struggle with knowing how to give praise for good grades, here are five suggestions to help you meaningfully reward your kids for their excellent work.
Because all children excel in different areas, it is important to not only recognize good grades but also outstanding character, excellence in athletics or activities, etc. I know in my family growing up, demonstrating good character was even more important than getting the best grades. Keep the following ideas in mind when opportunities of various forms arise to praise and reward your child.
1. Give the Gift of Learning a New Skill
If your child struggles in school and then shows improvement in a certain area, reward them for their hard work and effort by giving them an extra privilege they could not have until improvement was made. You can show them you trust them to keep up the good work by giving them the opportunity to try balancing school with extracurricular activities. This could be getting them lessons in a skill they’ve always wanted to try, signing them up for a team, or even just a one-time opportunity to do something new. Some examples could include a new sport, horseback riding lessons, an art class, cooking lessons, etc.
2. Put your Child’s Hard Work on Display
The idea here is to give your kids “public recognition” for what they have achieved. This could be as simple as displaying a great report card or certificate of accomplishment on the fridge for all to see. Or, take a picture of your child when they receive an award or a picture of them holding it to display in a frame. It all comes down to your child recognizing that you are proud enough of them to want others to know about it. A little affirmation goes a long way, doesn’t it?
3. Be Spontaneous
Change up the reward so your child does not grow accustomed to expecting something. I find it much more rewarding to be surprised than to expect to receive something. This allows kids to feel the personal satisfaction of working hard for the sake of doing their best while also receiving unexpected extra recognition. This could be a spontaneous dinner out, trip to the ice cream shop, or a weekend family fun day.
4. Give Personalized Tickets
Instead of money, make the reward more personal. Create different tickets each listing a different reward. Let your child choose one each time there is an opportunity for recognition. Think of things such as one day off of chores, free choice movie night, date with mom or dad, an opportunity to stay up late one night, take a friend to dinner with the family, etc. Personalize the rewards to make them meaningful for what your own child likes.
5. Match the Accomplishment to the Reward
Say your child finally passes a history test even though that is typically their hardest subject. Reward them by doing something related to history that will make it more fun such as a trip to a hands-on museum. If your child loves reading and aced that class, allow them to choose a new book from a book store. Regardless of what it is, make the reward go along with what was achieved as a reinforcement or motivation.
What are ways you reward your children for their school success? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below.