February is American Heart Month, which makes it a great time to focus on heart-healthy choices. Here are a few ways to encourage healthy habits in children, adapted from the American Heart Association's website. Check back for more tips later in the week!
* Be a positive role model. If you're practicing healthy habits, it's a lot easier to convince children to do the same.
* Get the whole family moving. Take walks, ride bikes, swim, garden or play outside. Everyone benefits from exercise and time together.
* Limit TV, video game and computer time. These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle and excessive snacking, increasing the risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease.
* Encourage physical activities that children really enjoy. Let children experiment with different activities until each finds something he or she really loves doing. They'll stick with it longer if they love it.
* Set specific goals and limits, such as one hour of physical activity a day, or two desserts per week. When goals are too abstract or limits too restrictive, the opportunity for success decreases.
Check back for more ideas later. Meanwhile, share your ideas for raising healthy kids in the Comments section. We'd love to hear them!