Should kids get participation awards?

‘This is not a good lesson to be teaching children’


Gazebo Photo by Josie Lamb

Whether children should receive participation trophies in athletic and academic events is an ongoing debate.

Many people strongly believe kids should receive an award for simply showing up, while others believe this is not reason to hand out a trophy. I agree with the latter.

Simply handing a child a trophy for merely showing up at an event can teach kids the wrong things. It can teach them they don’t have to work hard or put in effort to receive praise, leaving them unprepared for reality.

This is not a good lesson to be teaching children. It is important for them to be recognized for their hard work and effort, but when it comes to simply participating, I don’t believe it is necessary for awards to be given out. It also can undermine the competition aspect of an event if every kid gets a trophy.

In life, there are no participation trophies and awards for simply showing up.

— Josie Lamb

In life, there are no participation trophies and awards for simply showing up. It is the effort and achievement that should earn these awards. It can be exciting for little kids to receive some sort of medal for taking part in an activity, but they will probably forget about it the next day, and it just leaves another unnecessary trophy for the parents to put away.

I think it is OK for very young children to receive participation trophies, but there should be sort of age limit. When kids reach a certain age, they should know that not everyone can win. It takes away everything special about a trophy if every kid gets one. Some people claim it’s unfair for only kid or team to receive a trophy, but in life sometimes that’s just how it works.

Giving out participation trophies can also be costly for certain associations. It can be a waste of money, considering the trophy will probably be stored away in a box a few weeks after it is received. Personally, I have dozens of participation trophies from my days of SISL, Macon Soccer, and other sports camps. I also have trophies from actually winning competitions. The participation trophies don’t mean much in comparison because I know the same ones sit in everyone else’s house as well, taking up space.

Participation should be rewarded with words, but not always with trophies and medals. These should be saved for top winners.