Your camera is simply an instrument to take pictures. Knowing your instrument will eliminate the mechanical nature of photography and free you up to more easily capture something special whether it be a family moment or something more artistic. Like all things, the best way to learn the subtleties of your camera settings is to practice.
There are three important functions you will want to learn:
- Shutter Speed - Determines how fast the shutter opens and closes
- Aperture - Changes the size of the opening to your camera's sensor
- ISO - Impacts your camera's sensitivity to light
Once you understand each of these and how they interact with each other, you will be able to focus on more important aspects of photography such as composition and light.
The video below, by Tony Northrup, does a good job of explaining how each of these impacts the outcome of your image. After watching this, practice and experience what you've learned. Take a picture of your son or daughter outdoors using a low Aperture (f2.8-f4) and then a high Aperture value (f16-f22)...notice the difference in the background and the ISO? Have her run slowly towards you with a high (1/1000th) and low shutter (1/100th) speed and notice how it impacts the sharpness of the subject.
When I was learning these functions I simply took pictures of anyone and anything. Through trial and error, you will begin to appreciate how they work and then be able to use them to your advantage to get the shot you wanted.
Let me know if you have any questions.