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Teach your children about their hearts this Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine's Day and American Heart Month, start talking to your children about their hearts. The American Heart Association has worksheets, games and songs for children of all ages, to teach them about their hearts. From a "Follow the blood" coloring sheet and "Break the Heart Code" puzzle to heart-healthy snacks and activities for the heart, there's a lot of heart-smart information for any age.

Learning About your Heart, at Home

There are also many fun and easy activities to do with your kids at home.

Have your children try to feel their heart beats by putting their hand over their hearts. It should be a slow and quiet beat. Then do vigorous exercise for a few minutes (jumping jacks, running up and down the stairs, or dancing) and then have them stop and put their hands over their hearts again. They will be able to feel it pumping fast and hard. Explain to them that it pumps blood all over their bodies and the harder you work, the harder your heart works.

Lots of children have toy stethoscopes to practice listening to their hearts. If you don't, try using a cup, a toilet paper roll, or a tin can with the ends cut off, to magnify the sound. Listen on the front on the chest and also on the back. Take turns doing it to each other, practice being quiet so the person listening to the heart beat can hear it.

Older kids might want to learn to take their pulse. For a how-to, click here.

If you are living in Lexington and would like to learn about CPR training for yourself and your teens, check out Jump Start the Heart.

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