Have you heard of this term before? Let’s break it down.
Culture on https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cultureis 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 referring 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:
- Do you value movement in your life?
- Do you move daily?
- Is your movement restricted to a certain place or time of day? At the gym, the wee morning hours, after your kids go to bed?
- Do you move by yourself or with others?
- Do you invite your family to move with you daily?
Moving your body through a workout is amazing! If you work out 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 pique 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. Your work, homeschooling, housekeeping, and evening routine should include movement, too. That could be hard to make happen but having a family culture that embraces movement helps 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 (forward and backward), 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 know that I still have an opportunity to do more for my body. Usually, when I get home, we all slide on our shoes and walk or run the neighborhood. We have recently been walking down the street to where there is a surplus of fruit trees that often have delicious fresh fruit lying on the ground, freshly shaken from the tree. Our middle child is so motivated to hunt for a fresh mango, fallen lychee, or on a much rarer occasion, a ripe passionfruit.
Sometimes it is all of us, sometimes my oldest rides a bike while I run, sometimes I walk carrying my youngest. Other times, we’re working out in the yard, walking around the playground, gardening, bike riding as a family, or some combination of this. Often, we walk to the grocery store, to a friend’s house, or go swim at my parent’s house.
During this time we are not just moving our bodies. We are bonding, making memories, talking, and experiencing life. We are watching our children build their confidence and they are watching their parents take care of themselves, enjoy their spouse, and embrace life.
So, how can you add movement to your family culture?