Your kids are at a pretty good age to have a great time.. they're not 'teenage" enough to resent being forced to spend time with you, and plenty old enough to take part in a lot of things. One factor you may encounter, though, is a bit of fear of heeling and waves if they are not already accustomed to being aboard..
Get them involved and educated on the running of the boat.. help sheet, steer (with guidance), rig and put away at the end of the day. They will become lifelong sailors if this goes well, and be real assets to you and your wife in the handling of the boat.
Hopefully they love to read.. there are going to be grey days, slow passages where boredom may rear it's ugly head.. reading is a great way to pass the time - miles ahead of all the various video gadgets available today.
Kayaks and sailing dinghies, or even just rowboats go a long way to amuse them too, as will shore excursions, beachcombing at low tide etc etc. Swimming is another great asset - make sure it's easy for them to clamber back on board - have a decent ladder or stern platform (you don't say what kind of boat)
Family freindly cruising areas are plentiful, look for sheltered reliable anchorages, shoreside facilities (personal and diversionary) and an increased likelihood of running into other cruising families - new friends are a good thing.
Fairly prejudiced here, but the PNW (a long way from Texas, I know) is a great candidate if you're looking to charter somewhere. Spring is too early for swimming though....
Our son is a sailing success story, having been on boats since his first month, sailed his own dinghy, raced with us from age 11, and now married, owns his own boat and had is daughter out sailing at 1 week old (in December!!)
What I've described above was our experience.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Last edited by Faster; 10-08-2008 at 10:11 AM.