Family Culture

Have you heard of this term before? Let’s break it down.

Culture on defined as: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. In this case, the family is the institution we are refering to.

It is not often that we get the opportunity to shape an entire culture, though we might seek out work environments or communities that mimic our own ideals and beliefs. However, as parents, family culture is one that we have major influence over!

While there are many aspects of a family culture that should be addressed to create the ultimate environment that you desire, I am specifically going to talk about including movement into your family culture. Just like with many things in your life, being intentional is key to developing a family culture that you desire. It is easy to drift from where you want to be (or are trying to be) if you are not constantly evaluating where you are at.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you value movement in your life?
  2. Do you move daily?
  3. Is your movement restricted to a certain place or time of day? At the gym, the wee morning hours?
  4. Do you move by yourself?
  5. Do you invite your family to move with you daily?

Moving your body through a workout is amazing! If you workout regularly, congratulations! You are successful at something most people are working towards. Showing your family that caring for your body is important and worthy of your time is the first step in incorporating movement into your family culture.

Share with your children (and if need be, spouse) why you exercise regularly, show them what you do; ask them to mimic your movements! For instance, if you attend a kickboxing workout, show your kids some of the movements from that day and ask them to do try them at home. The results are often goofy, fill your home with laughter-and add movement to your family culture. This little trick gets you discussing movement regularly! It will peak the interest of your kids and progress their own movement skills as they try new things.

Ideally, movement should be overflowing from your workout slot and into the other hours of your day, like you work slot, your homeschooling slot, and your evening routine. That is hard to make happen, but having a family culture that embraces movement will help this become a reality. Even as a physical therapist, which has me demonstrating exercises, standing on my feet frequently, and talking all things movement, I am moving much less at work than I thought I was. Sure, I am up and down a lot. But I’m still primarily moving in the sagittal plane (forwards and backwards) and am required to document at a computer, and my step count is still mostly low by the end of my shift.

But, since I have created a family culture that encompasses movement, I return home to my littles asking to go on a bike ride, or outside for a family walk before the sun goes down, or to play with a soccer ball in the backyard. Though it sounds exhausting, it has actually been freeing and an amazing way to bond with my kids and husband. Movement not only increases your blood flow, but also conversation flow! By the end of our move sesh, I know the important details of my family’s day and have increased my activity for the day!

Another way I encourage a family culture that includes movement is to bring toys into the house that promote movement. We have 3 small ride on toys in the house and 2 push strollers that get the most use of any toys in our house. While our house isn’t huge, it is a long ranch style that lends itself well to laps on a big wheel or plasma car. Allowing these toys in the house allow the girls to move even when I cannot join them outside!

Exposing your kids to movement activities outside the house also contributes to a family culture that prioritizes movement. Our four-year-old recently participated in a mile race at a track meet put on by a local running store. Our two-year-old ran a lap with us during our warm up. Ever since we came home from that experience they have been putting on their own track meets: running (and always winning their own race), cheering on their sibling in their race, then dueling it out together in a race (occasionally, my four-year-old will let the two-year-old win). I didn’t anticipate that single event influencing them so much, but I should have known better!

Use these ideas as a start to molding a family culture that prioritizes movement-then send in any other ideas you have that is unique to your family.

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