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How to Define Your Family's Core Values in 3 Simple Steps

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As parents, we all have a vision for who we want our kids to become. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself if you're effectively guiding your kids towards that vision?


Are you looking to:

  • Clarify the values you want to instill in your kids

  • Align your messaging as a parent with your partner

  • Encourage your family to move together in the same direction

  • Create a visual to display as a reminder of what matters most to your family

Maybe you're like me and you've recently questioned if you are really doing your best to influence your kids at an age where they are most impressionable.

It may have taken an adult beverage and reminding my husband it was my birthday to get him on board, but Team Valentine recently sat down to clarify our core values and practices! Knowing this "isn't my husband's kind of thing" I narrowed it down to 3 simple steps to get the job done. As a result, we are now more aligned as a family and we have a solid framework from which we can act upon.

Benefits include all of the above and the sweet satisfaction of knowing you took the time to align your intentions and actions. Here is our family's experience and a simple 3-step process you can try with your family.


Calling Myself Out


Admittedly, I often question what I am doing, why I am doing it, and if I am living up to my own expectations. It was recently the end of the year so I was especially focused on such questions. As my husband said, "You certainly have a lot going on inside that head of yours!"

Busy military spouse reflecting on family health and happiness

During my reflection I read an article by Jeff Haden titled "What People With a Success Mindset Do Instead of Follow Morning Routines." The premise of the article was that successful people do not have good morning routines, but they instead have good practices. Jeff shared, "Routines are what you do. Practices are also what you do, but are, more importantly, who you are. The difference is in the flexibility. One is about daily rhythm. The other is a lifelong pursuit. One can be ruined by something as simple as hitting the snooze button one too many times or getting called into work unexpectedly. The other can adapt accordingly."

I thought the article was genius! It embodies something I preach here at Team Valentine Project - that our goals and intentions must be clear, yet flexible enough to adapt based on stage of life and day-to-day competing priorities. Otherwise, one small bump in the road has the potential to breakdown our entire system. I enjoyed reading Jeff's take on how core practices help us to pivot and achieve lifelong success.

Inspired by the article, I started to think about the practices that are a part of who I am. I began up on my high horse, reflecting on how moving each day and eating well are unbreakable parts of who I am. After all, I have identified strategies and mindset shifts that set me up for success.

I also thought about work. I very intentionally lead others using our company core values. I know exactly what they are and they are a part of everything we do.

a strong military spouse kissing a healthy and happy child

Then, I started to question, Am I doing the same for my kids?

When I stopped to ask myself if I was really meeting my own expectations it turns out I'm not.

While I was very intentionally setting myself and my company up for success, I was lacking such clarity and alignment in my parenting! Thus, I decided it was time to write out our family core values and practices.

I went into the process with a few goals in mind:

  • Clarify the values my husband and I want to instill in our kids

  • Better align my husband and I's parenting with consistent messaging

  • Create a visual to display in our home as a reminder (to be revised as needed)

  • Define this foundation for our family prior to our next military relocation

I aimed to keep it as simple as possible and it did the trick! (military husband = limited tolerance for personal development)

If you're looking for a place to start with your family, give these 3 simple steps a try!


3 Steps to Define Your Family Values & Practices


1. Brainstorm

  • Write down the values and ideas that are most important to you

  • Identify if there are any values you currently discuss with your kids

  • Think ahead to who you ultimately hope your children will become

  • Note any daily practices that are important to your family

  • Need more ideas? Research core values online & listen to "10 Practical Tips for Identifying and Implementing Core Values With Your Family" (The Productivity Show)

2. Partner Buy-in

  • Share your brainstorm with your partner

  • Ask what you missed or what needs to be changed

  • Ensure you are both on board to lead by example

  • Discuss if there are any daily practices you'd like to include

3. Check for Understanding

  • Use simple words and phrases that everyone in your family can understand

  • After each core value, consider including a go-to phrase or philosophy that can be repeated over time (i.e. describe why it is important or how your family will put it into action)

  • Review your ideas with your kids, ensuring they can explain back to you what you mean

  • Check that you and your partner are aligned in how you intend to explain each concept, especially if you have young kids


The Final Product


I had a vision of creating a very simple and clear visual using Canva. As my husband stated, "This is the very opposite of simple and the formatting is terrible."

Family core values and family health for military families

I'll admit, it's not the most beautiful item I've ever created and it certainly is, shall we say...comprehensive? However, you just can't take the Health Educator/former School Wellness Coordinator out of me!

All joking aside, it was a lovely and very personal exercise, capturing all the things we frequently discuss and focus on as a family. Most importantly, it gives us a place to start. Will this list remain set in stone? Absolutely not! We'll check in and revise it over time. However, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." With a military relocation upon us, Team Valentine now has a clarified framework from which we can grow together!

I have a vision that my children will confidently stand tall in this world, knowing who they are and embodying our core values and practices. I believe a success mindset is not just for entrepreneurs, it's also a foundation each family team can develop and implement for themselves. And now, you now know a simple 3-step way to create your own resilient family foundation, too!

I wish you much ease, clarity, (and a very patient partner) throughout the process!


Louise Valentine is an award-winning wellness expert, best-selling author, competitive runner, and fierce military spouse. She owns Badass Breakthrough Academy, a virtual health & performance academy empowering you with practical and scientifically sound strategies to maximize mind-body performance, be unstoppable & burnout-proof! Learn more and view her free advanced training here. As always, you can find Louise & Team Valentine living life out loud on Instagram @BreakingThroughWellness.


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