Ever work with children? Well, if you can avoid it, I would but in case you are doing a shoot with a toy company and they want to use children here are a few thing you need to know.
Child actors are not your regular type of actors. They can only be on set a certain amount of hours. If they are under 6 it is 3 hours of work time; from the ages of 6-9 they can work 4 hours and then they have an hour for lunch and about 3 hours to rest and relax. If what your shooting is a narrative and there is dialogue try and structure your shot list so you're able to wrap the child first and earlier in the day after they have been fed. You don't want to deal with a tired hungry child who can only work 3 hours at the end of your day, it won't be pleasant for you or him and you probably won't get your shot.
2. CASTING AND SHOOTING
Children who can follow direction, any direction are worth their weight in gold and then some. You should be spending a lot of time doing this anyway but with kids under 6 in particular if you can find a child to act cute, or mortified on cue you've found yourself a winner. Find one that loves to act because they love to act not because their parents decided to throw him in front of a camera and never let go; cast them in everything.
In our latest shoot with Mattel and Plushland we had children who were well under 5 years old on set for roughly an hour and I felt like that was too much. We had 10 kids running around playing with toys in a room and it was extremely difficult to light them so I would recommend that if you are casting multiple kids you should have only a few of them in a room at a time (preferably one) and have as few crew members there as possible because having a bunch of adults watching them makes most kids nervous. Go figure.
3. OLDER KIDS
Some kids just look really young. Hell, Lea Michelle is 29 as of this writing and she started playing a high school kid when she was 22 and at a certain point some kids just look ambiguously young. If you can cast the kid that is older and can take direction better and you will have saved yourself a world of headache.
Our entire 48 Hr Film Festival Submission last year was based on around an imaginary friend exterminator who, Ghostbusters style, killed imaginary friends. We had to cast a number of child actors many of who were well into high school and you wouldn't know it by watching them (below)