When it comes to your kids getting enough exercise these days you're facing you problems. The first is that, even though your kids may seem to be extremely active, a lot of their energy is being wasted and they need to learn how to exercise effectively if they are going to build strength and endurance and also avoid obesity. The second is that, with the arrival of computers in every home and video games machines, most kids today are simply not active enough.
Kids will normally become bored very quickly with anything that is 'organized' for them by their parents and so involving them in sport needs to be a normal part of family life, rather than something that is simply good for them. Taking them along when you go jogging, play tennis, swim, have a round of golf or go dancing is much more likely to work and there are hundreds of similar activities and sports that the younger crowd can enjoy.
Kids are like consistency and can be especially sensitive to anything that appears inconsistent or hypocritical so, if you're giving your kids advice, you need to be prepared to follow that advice yourself. The great benefit of this of course is that you can keep yourself fit as well but, just as important, you can enjoy quality time with your kids and get to keep an eye on them and see that they're exercising in a safe and proper manner.
As with anything else, whatever sport or activity you choose has to be enjoyable right from the start. If you run your kid ragged on the first outing then there's a good chance that it will also be the last. Keep things simple and build up the time spent on any activity, and the degree of difficulty, gradually. If the activity is by its very nature strenuous then don't forget to stress the importance of warming up and make a few stretching exercises part of the normal routine.
Remember that, from about the age four up until seven, kids need to focus on developing basic physical skills, such as balance and coordination. Between these ages things such as motor skills and eye-hand coordination, which many adults take for granted, still need to be developed. Simple skills such as using a skipping rope and hopscotch can help with the development of these skills.
From the age of about eight up to twelve, more vigorous exercise can be introduced to keep that active metabolism from turning food into fat. Parents again need to guide their kids here in order to build good habits and to avoid injury. Weight training for example is almost always a bad idea for pre-teens as it is both risky and unnecessary. Gymnastics, on the other hand, helps to build on those basic motor skills learned earlier.
For teenagers, the field is wide open as by this age they have the basic bone and muscle structure that gives them the potential for high performance activity in a wide variety of activities. Here one of the biggest problems is the possibility of injury and so parents can play an important role in ensuring that teenagers are properly equipped for their chosen sport or activity and approach it in the right way.
Teenagers are naturally inclined towards both roughhousing and rebelliousness and so now is the time to help them to channel their energy into some positive goals such as fitness, endurance and high scores.