One of the challenges I have faced in my photography is capturing the unadulterated honesty of childhood. When the expectations of adults are out of the picture (pun intended. ) you will find surprisingly mature and thoughtful- yet innocent- people.
The first problem with seeing this side of our children is getting us out of the picture! Yes, it's a little hard to take a picture without being there. The best way to be there without being there, is to make full use of your zoom. You can sit on the porch, behind a tree, or even hang out an upstairs window, and your little subjects will probably not even notice that you're aiming at them. The more you practice, the more they will get used to seeing you with a camera in your hands.
We all know how children act when they think they are the subject of a picture. That behavior is fun for snapshots, but we are looking for something else. We are looking inside the child's life when they are alone or alone with other children they trust.
Another way to take sneak shots of the littlest subjects is by not holding your camera up to your face. You may shut your display off to save batteries, but now is when it really comes in handy. You can hold your camera down, away from your face, or even sit it in your lap, and people will have no idea you are clicking away.
One of my favorites- talking together :)