February 07, 2005

A Job Well Done

Posted by Hello


There's nothing more rewarding to a mother than to see her child delighted with himself. Times like these are a good indication that things are going well, that we must be doing something right and that we can generate this much happiness.

What's the cause of such joy? Making the 100 point mark.

Should kids be rewarded for doing well in school? There isn't a universal answer to this question. It's a gray area. It all depends on the household, the parents and the child. Only parents can make that call and it's certainly not the place of other parents to judge that decision.

In our household, good grades get rewarded. Here's how it works:

A = 2 points
B = 1 point
C = 0 points
D = minus one point
F = minus two points

At the beginning of the school year, the kids and I sat down and talked about possible rewards they might get after reaching a certain number of points. It generated a lot of excited talk and I think it was a good lesson in what was reasonable and what wasn't. At first, they tried to set a ridiculous point system, but when I just sat there and gave them the "you're crazy" look, they began to think about it more seriously. Soon, there was a lively discussion about what was fair and what wasn't. I was pleasantly surprised by their debate. I pretty much stayed out of it except to act as moderator and give them "guidelines." What we came up with seems to have worked out beautifully.

They get certain things if they "cash in" 50 points, 100 points, and the grand prize of 200 points. It averages out they have about 100 points to cash in at around two months. So it gives them something to work toward and look forward to as well as keeping the cost for us down to a manageable level.

It's been working like a charm. They are bringing home good grades and I'm not having to stress and wonder if they are going to make it to the next grade level.

Now I know what you're thinking: But what about the satisfaction they get when they do a job well done? I honestly think this satisfaction comes naturally. They get praise from us for taking the initiative to do well, which is what every child wants deep down, to please their parents, as well as getting something concrete from the success - points that they can cash in and spend as they like. This also teaches them the value of spending their hard-earned points wisely.

For instance, they can cash in 50 points and get ice cream of their choice. Price is not an object. Brandon wanted to do this at first, but then stopped to think. Ice cream satisfies, but then it's gone. It's better to save those points up to a hundred when he can cash them in for a Gameboy advance game, something he can keep.

In our household, going to school is their "job." I expect them to take it seriously, respect the teachers that teach them, learn the material, joke and have fun with their friends (when appropriate) and get "paid" for a job well done.

I wouldn't work for free, would you?

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