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Grade Incentives That Are Not Monetary, Got Ideas? Ours are in the comments area.

By September 27, 2012

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I was adding a few responses from parents to the Best Ways to Motivate Your Teen To Earn Good Grades in High School article when I came across a response that was more of a question. So, I thought I would ask you for your advice. Here is what the mom asked:

"I have used the monetary reward system and it worked - until I lost my job. I am a single mom who has been unemployed for 16 months. My unemployment cut off 4 months ago and my savings was depleted even before that. Are there any ideas that do NOT involve money? I haven't been able to think of anything other than praise and encouragement. I no longer even have a car."

My first thoughts are giving a privilege of maybe a later curfew or an extra hour of computer time. I also think that your teen could clue you into what they might like as an incentive, so don't forget to ask them.

Please share your thoughts and advice in the comments area.

August 4, 2010 at 10:42 am
(1) Joanna says:

Great question, I’m in exactly the same predicament. It would be awesome to get some insight into non-monetary rewards to motivate my kids to get better grades.
When I think back to my coaching jobs, tons of praise worked best. Even if they didn’t live up to my expectations for them, but gave it their best shot, they would get high-fived, praised, congratulated, etc. I took a 2 year old swim club that was in danger of being shut down because of an oppressive (male) coach who was very lean with his praise, and in 3 months with me, the average improvement on time was 65%. 2 years later the team is flourishing.
I find I’m lean with praise for my own kids though, I have such high expectations for them that I forget to praise the effort. Hmmmm, might have to apply my coaching skills to my parenting skills.

August 4, 2010 at 7:09 pm
(2) Denise Guide to Parenting Teens says:

Go for it, Joanna. Let us know how well the praise for your own kids worked! I’m sure they will love it.

I find it is harder to be upbeat with my kids because I need my down time and they need me during my downtime – it just doesn’t mesh. But lately I’ve been trying the praise more too… it is working for the 14yo and the 8yo… my home for the summer college student should come around any time now :/

August 4, 2010 at 7:11 pm
(3) Denise Guide to Parenting Teens says:

Failed to mention one of my incentives, cooking their favorite meal or letting them pick the junk food that week. Dinner and snacks are normal household things, but my kids love having the control of what we are eating.

August 5, 2010 at 2:53 am
(4) Char says:

I think all the ideas are great! In fact I practice some of those at home as well as Denise’s ideas with picking the junk food at a certain time.

But most of all I want to praise the lady who initailly asked this question and Joanne. I wish you the very best in luck and preserverance in motherhood I understand it is not easy and my prayers to you all as well.

October 3, 2012 at 9:26 am
(5) Yvonne Holcomb says:

I like to hold a family dinner at favorite restaurant and toast to good grades or sometimes a special meal at home. But celebrate as a family. I made the mistake of putting grades on the refrig once and friends came over and gave my daughter a hard time. It wasn’t cool.

October 4, 2012 at 7:27 am
(6) Denise Guide to Parenting Teens says:

Thanks for the warning about the refrig!

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