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Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence: the Difference and its Impact in Early Learning

April 17, 2017

Did you know that self-confidence isn’t the same thing as self-esteem? What many parents don’t realize is that if a child feels confident with one skill, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they feel confident about themselves as a whole.

While it’s true that all kids can learn, some kids are naturally more hesitant, cautious, or even anxious than others. And depending on everything from genetics to life circumstances, some kids are just prone to low self-confidence or self-esteem than others. If you’re wondering how self-confidence and self-esteem plays a factor into your child’s education, keep reading to find the answer, as well as helpful tips to avoid learning challenges down the road. 

What’s the Difference?

Have you ever felt confident in one thing, but not another?

Self-confidence is the feeling of confidence we have when we know that we can accomplish a task, and it determines how we react when faced with new challenges and experiences. Someone who is self-confident knows they can perform at whatever it is that life throws at them. Kids with high self-confidence will tackle most skills or tasks without worry about failure. 


Self-esteem on the other hand, is the overall feeling of self-worth that we all have of ourselves. It’s how we appraise ourselves, and the value we offer the world. Believe it or not, it’s entirely possible for someone to be self-confident in what they do (like celebrities) but still feel profoundly shameful about themselves as a person to the point that a one takes part in self-destructive habits. 

How They Work Together? 

Self-esteem is forged early in childhood, when kids gain new experiences and learn their capabilities as they learn new skills. Even though we can have high self-confidence and still have low self-esteem, kids who have low self-confidence will develop low self-esteem, as well.

Since all kids are different and vary in how they interact and react to the world, the most important thing we can do for our children is to help them develop a healthy self-esteem that will lead to higher self-confidence in the activities they participate in. When a child has low self-esteem, they develop a fear of failure, thinking they just “can’t do it!” This leads to academic frustration, putting them at risk for developing learned helplessness as they hinder their own learning out of sheer refusal. 

Tips to Promote Healthy Self-Esteem

You might be wondering what type of self-esteem activities for kids you can begin with your child to ensure that they develop a healthy sense of worth. The following tips will help your child to developed a healthy self-esteem, which will promote higher self-confidence in everything they do: 

  • Love, understanding and support

Just knowing that you value them, will make your child value themselves. Speak to them about their interests, and help them deal with challenges in a positive and effective way. 

  • Give them real evidence of progress

It’s important that your little learner see know their successes, and have real evidence of their progress. Early learning games are a great way to mix fun with learning that gives your child instant positive feedback and evidence of their success. 

  • Celebrate your kid's achievements

Showcase your child’s hard work by posting it on the fridge, or using their arts and crafts to decorate the house. Be their number one fan in the stands at their soccer game, or in the first row of their dance recital. Whatever it is your child does, be there and show that what they do matters to you. 

  • Choose the right resources

For example, printable math worksheets for kids make it easy for you to print short, yet meaningful activities for your child to complete and see evidence of their success. And if your child struggles, continued hard-work will teach them that they can accomplish their goals if they keep going. 

The best part is that you’ll be able to find printable worksheets and interactive videos for every subject and skill! 

If you’d like to influence your child’s self-esteem and set the tone for their own self-worth down the road, this is the time to do it! By understanding the importance of self-esteem and how it impacts learning, you can take the necessary steps now to ensure your child will develop a healthy sense of self, promoting self-confidence along the way, for life-long success and happiness! 


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