Sailing with small children
If you are worried about your children "bugging you" while onboard - don''t take them.
Having children on sailboats is a glorious experience. They are so eager to learn and everything is fascinating to see through their eyes. But you sound as if they would get in your way of sailing, instead of adding to the enjoyment. If you are not equal partners in your child rearing (i.e. your husband taking equal responsibility for your children''s enjoyment of boating so you are not ''stuck below''), how can you teach your children anything about the water?
Netting can be strung between the lifelines to insure noone goes tumbling overboard. And life jackets should be mandatory. But the real concern I hear in your post is that you do not want to be "stuck with the kids". Please do not think of it that way. They are still so young that they most likely will fall fast asleep after a few miles.
As for entertainment, coloring books work just as well at sea, as long as the water is calm and the children are somewhere they feel safe, snuggled into a bunk, etc...
And be sure to provide plenty of snacks and spill proof drinks, of course.
Other than that, wait to take them until you and your husband get the parent thing worked out. Don''t feel like you are stuck below. Feel like it is a wonderful experience for you and your kids to share, not a party trip for you that was ruined, and things will go much smoother.