Is there a sailing school nearby? Some lessons might be a good idea.
I've sailed on the Chesapeake-great fun-big water. I would recommend you buy a handheld water proof VHF radio and a set of flares to keep on board. And a compass, just a boy scout hand compass is fine. As a friend told me when I put my Getaway on Lake Michigan: "Small boat. Big lake!"
How old are your kids? Good swimmers? Get good PFDs and always wear them. I've never capsized due to being overpowered by the wind, but I've been capsized by a sudden wind shift or by coming around a point and a gust catching me off guard. So practice capsize recovery in a controlled condition, with the kids, so they know what to expect and don't panic.
I started sailing with my family when my kids were little-2, 5, and 7. Now I'm sailing with them and their kids at 2, 5, and 8! They all love it, or at least they pretend to!