What Are the Formative Years?
The formative years are the first few years of a child's life. During these years, basic learning and development occurs. These life basics include mental and physical development and are essential building blocks for life.
When something goes wrong during the formative years, that has an effect on how the person grows and develops later during adolescence and adult life. Most time lines consider the first five years the formative years, and during this time social skills and basic motor functions are learned and practiced. Learning to walk, talk and use the bathroom are some key examples of these formative skills.
In addition, personality is greatly impacted by these years. Many basic likes and dislikes, such as arts and sports, have their beginnings in this period. Emotional development also starts in the formative years. It is important to focus on encouraging a child's intellectual and thinking abilities during these years, as it can have a significant impact on them later in life. It is difficult to make up for a lack of this encouragement at an older age because by the end of the formative years so many basic building blocks are set in stone. For example, a child who does not learn to speak early enough will have difficulty learning later on.