I wrote a previous article on how to improve your everyday photos, where I discussed the importance of light and composition. At the time, I wanted to show you the basic concepts with a simple example at a coffee shop. When you think about photographing kids, the same concepts will apply. You should look for the light and how the light interacts with your subject, natural light whenever possible. Try different point of views to find a better composition. Again, visual exercise! The art is going to come out of experimentation.
Get to their eye level
When photographing kids the point of view is very important.
Don’t just point and shoot, get to their eye level or even lower. The pictures will be more interesting as this is not the usual way we look at them, it also gives more context and meaning. Think about why you are taking a picture, what is the thing that brings your attention. Knowing why you are taking a picture will help you to find a strong point of interest, shoot up or shoot down.
In the picture below there's an example on how lowering your level can improve the overall composition. It allowed to simplify the background by hiding distractions. The lines also worked on my favor by leading to the subject. All together produced a stronger picture.
Another tip to improve your photos is trying different compositions and frame them in the picture. Natural framing is when you use an element within your image to frame the subject. This draws the eye into the photo and highlights the actual subject.
Let them be
When photographing kids the most valuable skill is to be patient and embrace it. It's hard to have kids doing what you ask for. Remove “CHEESE” from your vocabulary, the moment a kid hears it, they obediently put on their “picture face.” So visualize the scene, position yourself and wait for the moment in order to create to create real, timeless images. I can tell you that many times you won't get the picture you idealized but when you do, happy times!