Move in Closer
Almost any shot will look better if you take two or three steps closer to your subject. Filling the frame entirely with your subject will make a terrific difference to your photos. Just when you think you have moved closer take one more step closer. But if your digital it doesn't hurt to take a few. Try seeing the difference by taking one farther back and taking more as you move in closer.
Alternatively, instead of moving closer, use the Optical or Digital Zoom of your camera to get a close up shot. Preferably Optical zoom.
When taking shots of family and friends, most people place the subject's full body in the frame, or place head and arms in the shot. Instead, fill the frame with your subject's FACE only - particularly if they are smiling or are in a moment of reflection.
With less clutter in the image, there's less to draw the eye away from the main subject of your photo. Also, human faces (particularly children's faces) are something we all feel pleasure looking at. Think back and remember that when you are looking at a picture we tend to try to see the face. Have you ever had to put the picture right in front of your face to try to see the faces?
If you can't get close enough when you're taking the shot, you can zoom in later using photo editing software - crop out everything except the subject's face and see what a difference it makes. But be careful to not to try to do this often because you lose the quality of the picture, meaning less pixels per inch.
Here are some examples:
In this picture you can't even see his expression. (jack at age 1)