Self-efficacy is important to your young child – Part 1

Your belief in your own ability to do something, find resources, gain knowledge and problem-solving is the key to understanding your own self-efficacy.

While learning to crawl, a child can also learn about self-efficacy.
While learning to crawl, a child can also learn about self-efficacy.

The term “self-efficacy” is finding its way into the early childhood education vocabulary these days. As an informal introduction, we would like to share an example from our own lives.

We have often observed parents playing hide and seek with their infant who has started to crawl. The parent crawls around a corner and peeks out, smiling and encouraging the baby to come find them. More peeks, more encouraging “You can do it” and baby moves to where the parent is hiding. Hugs, cheers and repeat. The parent is supporting a new skill – crawling – by modeling it, providing motivation, setting reasonable expectations (how far), encouraging and celebrating success. As the child’s skills develop, the parent extends the activity, prompting the child to try more distance or a better hiding place. Is the baby just learning how to crawl? Oh, no. This parent is teaching so much more. The child is learning about self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy is derived from the Social Cognitive Theory developed by psychologist Albert Bandura. Bandura defines self-efficacy as “people's beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives.” Research supports this theory with empirical evidence in studies of exercise research, for example in “How to support your child’s development of self-efficacy – Part 2

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