1. Turn ALL the lights off. Yes, all of them. Light bulbs cast color over the room. Some lights have a more yellow hue (warm tones), while others may be more blue or green (cool tones). Our eyes adjust to these colors pretty easily, but the camera doesn't. Skin tones will end up looking off in the image, which can make a photo less appealing to our eye.
2. Open your blinds and bring your kids close to the window. Let that beautiful natural light highlight their face. We all look our best in good lighting. Look for something called "catch-light" in their eyes. Catch-light is when you see a tiny reflection of the window light in the eyes.
3. Turn that flash off. Unless you are shooting in a dark environment, do your best to avoid using a flash. It's extremely harsh and unflattering. Don't get me wrong, flashes can create beautiful images, but it requires a lot of work and practice to get it to work for you in a flawless way. Personally, I feel that flash photography can actually be distracting to your subjects when just trying to capture simple, natural memories.
4. Get on their level. You're probably 5 foot something (give or take), and your kids are probably way shorter than you. Squat down and get more on their level, but not lower than them. We don't want 'up-the-nose' photos!
5. Yes, you can use the camera on your phone! The best camera to get is the one you will use. Seriously. You don't need something with a million extra buttons to carry around if you're not even gonna use it. Camera phones are getting so good, and will do the trick when starting out with photography. The only downside is that they typically don't print as well as regular cameras.
6. Think of things you want to remember. Those baby toes. The way your kids cuddle in the morning. How about their rooms? Remember that not all photos have to be of your child smiling at the camera. Those are cute shots of course, but how much of their 'story' can you tell when all the photos are of the same shot?
You've got this! Just do it. Watch your kids, watch how the beautiful light shows up in different rooms at different times of the day, and grab your camera when you see something that you feel is worth capturing.