What motivates students to get good grades?

Reward school grades or not?

Text: K. L. (mother) / Last update: 16.01.2021

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Reward for good grades in school

Grades are an important indicator of the child's academic performance. Students, teachers and parents get an overview of the level of knowledge and can take countermeasures in good time with tutoring or extra practice hours in the event of poor grades. Some students pay close attention to their grades and are highly motivated to write only ones or twos. For others, grades are not that important and it can easily get the impression that these children are not even clear why they are actually studying.

Regardless of the type of student - parents can do a lot to motivate their protégés. By the way, you can always check your child's school grades from Parents evening or at Parents' day to inform.

Should you reward good grades?

Again and again you hear from parents who financially reward every good grade that their child brings home. Apart from the fact that this method can be very expensive for a good student, it is questionable whether it makes sense. Then why is the child exerting themselves at school? And do parents succeed in such a way that their offspring understand that they are really only learning for themselves and their future? In addition, the question arises as to which value system is conveyed in the family and what is really important.


Rewards are a good thing when they are used sparingly and used in a targeted manner. A student who, for example, always had problems with reading and has finally made the breakthrough and comes home with a good grade, you can certainly make him happy with a small reward without a guilty conscience. However, the type of reward is crucial. In our example, it would make sense to honor the child's achievement by giving them a little book. In addition, a few encouraging words: "Great! Now you can read your favorite stories yourself!" Honestly showing your joy and appreciation for your performance is at least as important as the reward itself. The child feels how proud his parents are and clearly notices their joy. At the same time it recognizes: yes, I have practiced and learned and now I have made a big step forward! The older the child gets, the clearer the realization comes that with good grades you don't (only) make your parents happy, but that you benefit most from it yourself. Overall, it's not that good Pampering kids.

A good relationship is important

Motivating children with regard to grades takes time and a good parent-child relationship. Only through a lot of conversations, through explanations and explanations, does the offspring get to where we as parents would like to see them. Namely in a position in which the child acts independently and becomes more and more independent. There are always reasons for bad grades. One of them is simply laziness. Homework isn't done properly because friends are playing outside. There is not enough preparation for a test because the game console or the television is calling. Sometimes we parents can talk as much as we can - our children simply cannot avoid their own experiences. If you write a class test unprepared, you can expect a bad grade. And sometimes only then does the conversation with the child arise. Scoldings and punishments do not help here. But maybe the following: take your protégé in your arms, tell him that you love him and explain in the best way how such mistakes can be avoided in the future. Bet your child is much more receptive than when a big thunderstorm comes down? This is where the key to motivation lies; these are the moments when we parents are "on" our children.

If, in the middle of the school year, many parents are still reluctant to offer rewards, most of the students get a little something for their certificates. It looks similar with passed exams or theses. Anyone who has made an effort throughout the school year is simply happy to receive recognition. But here, too, the measure of all things is decisive. A little toy that the child has wanted for a long time, a nice DVD or maybe a trip to the amusement park - these are things that remain financially within limits. And there are things that the child realizes: my parents were concerned about me. A banknote that is simply handed over, on the other hand, looks unkind and cold. Here the honest joy about the performance of the pupil simply does not materialize.

Reward school grades - yes - but in moderation

In summary, one can say: Rewards used sparingly and in moderation can motivate a student. But buying good performance usually only leads to increased motivation in the short term, but in the long term tends to lead to pressure to perform, from which the school results suffer in the end.

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