How to Motivate Teens to get Good Grades

Provide Extra Incentives for Teens Who Need Extra Motivation

Motivate your teen to do his best.
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Some teens care deeply about their grades. They study hard, complete their homework without being told and put a lot of effort into their papers and projects. These students are intrinsically motivated to get good grades.

There are plenty of other students, however, that just don’t have that internal drive to get good grades. They may not care if they fall behind in school.

Or, they may forgo studying to play on their electronics without any concern about how it may affect their grades.

 For these students, a low test score or a failing paper doesn't really phase them.

If your teen is motivated to get good grades, there are some steps you can take to help. While you can'f force him to do better, you can encourage him to take his education a little more serious.

Create Healthy Homework Habits

If your teen isn’t motivated to study and do his homework on his own, you’ll need to intervene and provide more structure. Some teens need help with time management while other teens to know how to rid themselves of other distractions so they can concentrate on their work.

Establish clear rules about homework. For example, consider setting aside a designated homework time each evening. Also, problem-solve with your teen about how he can get his homework done each evening. Sometimes teens have ideas about what would be helpful to them.

Implement Rewards

If your teen isn't motivated by his report card, you may need to implement some other rewards that will give him an incentive to do well.


But don't offer a big reward at the end of the school year. Saying something like, "I'll buy you concert tickets if you get all As all year." That is likely too lofty of a goal and your teen may give up at the first sign he can't earn the incentive.

Offer short-term incentives. A weekly goal, such as allowing your teen to go to the movies on Friday night if he passes in his work all week, could be a better motivator.


If your teen really struggles to do his work, establish a nightly goal. For example, tell him he can use his electronics as soon as his homework is done. 

You can also combine rewards. Offer a small nightly incentive, as well as a weekly or monthly incentive. Get your teen involved in choosing what privileges he'd like to earn. 

Keep in mind that rewards don't have to be expensive. Many of the privileges you give your teen already can become incentives. For example, only allow your teen to use his cellphone or his video games when he is keeping his grades up. 

Basing your teen's privileges on his willingness to show you he can be responsible is an opportunity to teach him life skills.

If he doesn't do any of his school work, you may not trust him to be responsible with your car. Or, if he can't get his homework done because he can't resist replying to text messages, you'll know he probably won't be able to resist doing the same when he's behind the wheel.

Concerns About Rewarding Teens for Doing Their Work

Sometimes, parents think they shouldn't have to reward teens for their grades. But, offering extra incentives could be the key to keeping teens engaged in their education. 

But, sometimes, a few extra incentives can go a long way toward improving a teen's attitude about school.

And that may be all he needs to perform his best.

So consider small incentives as an investment in your teen's education. Extra privileges could be the key to helping him succeed in school.

Rewards can also reduce the conflict. If you're used to nagging your teen or lecturing him about his grades, take a step back. Offer an incentive and leave it up to him to earn it. Then, you'll help him learn to develop the self-discipline he needs to become a responsible adult.

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