For me, photography is a dance between a clean background, beautiful light, and authentic expression. These are the three main ingredients in all of my favorite photographs.  I like to think of an uncluttered background as the backdrop on a stage; a place with no distracting elements so I can focus on capturing something genuine about my little ones. I love using a blank wall, a field, the grass, a fence, or even a bed as a clean background.
The following three pictures illustrate the difference between a clean background and having extra elements in the frame. See how each picture tells a different story because of the elements included in the background?

Each picture says something so distinct, just because of the difference in the background. While I appreciate the story in all three pictures, my favorite picture is the last one. I see the gentle heart of my daughter, surrounded in the leaves she helped to collect so she could play in a leaf pile with her little brothers.

You can try too:
The next time you take a picture, look at the elements in the background. Do they help tell the story you want to capture or do they distract from it?
Walk around your yard or neighborhood and look for a few locations that could be used as clean backgrounds in your pictures.
Choose your favorite location and try taking several pictures there at a time when it is shady, since the open shade offers really beautiful light and is so much easier than bright sun for children to relax and play in!