Money talks, right? So why should kids be any less susceptible to what the dollars are telling them?
They aren’t, and that’s the problem. Enticing kids with monetary rewards for reading books or performing well on tests is certainly tempting for parents, especially if their children are game.
But the latest studies on paying kids to do academic tasks like reading more books, or to improve test scores found a negligible to zero positive effect on their standardized test results, and other measures of academic performance.
Holly Schiffrin, a psychology professor at the University Of Mary Washington, says that such rewards for children undermine their intrinsic motivation for learning. In a classic study in which some children were given stickers for coloring and others were not, for example, those who got stickers as a reward began enjoying the activity less. “All people need autonomy, or choice in their actions, competence, and relatedness to others in order to be intrinsically motivated and happy,” she says. Material rewards reduce a child’s sense of choice, and, as a result, their motivation and enjoyment.
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