Tips for older siblings at newborn sessions
As a new mom of two or more, you’re dreaming of the perfect family images welcoming your new sweet baby. But you’re not sure how your older child will do when the time comes. A new baby is a big transition for anyone, but for a toddler or pre-schooler, it can have a huge affect. You never know how they’ll react to this tiny little human coming in and suddenly needing their mommy The last thing you want is big brother or sister refusing to cooperate or melting down for your entire newborn session. Don’t worry – I have some great tips for older siblings at newborn sessions!
This is key. For every single one of my how to’s this is number one. Finding the photographer who works well with your family dynamic, who’s vision you trust and who’s personality you mesh with is always the key ingredient to the best possible images. In this case, the first of my tips for older siblings at newborn sessions is to find a photographer who has plenty of experience working with kids! It’s absolutely vital that your photographer is familiar with the dynamics at play and know how to interact with toddlers and preschoolers going through big transitions!
As a mom of three, ages 1, 3 and 5, I not only have a ton of personal experience with kids, I’ve recently gone through a similar transition – twice! If you want to see if we might be a great fit, reach out here to chat with me!
2. Stay calm.
Kids feed off their parents energy. If you are stressed on photo day, your toddler will be stressed on photo day. They already know that something is different and will likely be a little bit rambunctious as a result. This is the morning you choose your battles. If no one is getting hurt, maybe say yes to some of the things to which you normally say no. If you need to play the Beatles song “Let it Be” on repeat as a reminder to chill out and go with the flow that morning, feel free to do it!
3. Let your little one lead.
From my personal experience, forcing kids aged 18 months to 5-years-old to do anything they don’t want to doesn’t work out well. Especially if you expect them to look happy about it. So, let your little one lead. When he or she wants to go play, let them play and focus on getting images of just baby or mom and dad and baby. When big sibling wants to be a part of it, take those opportunities to get some family shots and some sibling shots.
4. Don’t bribe your kid.
I know, I know. This is a parents greatest power – the ability to bribe! The problem is, a newborn session can last 2 hours or sometimes even longer. No child has an attention span long enough to cooperate that long, even for the best bribes. Once you tell your kid they’ll get an “insert favourite treat to bribe with here”, they’ll last maybe 5 minutes if they’re EXTREMELY patient. Then the meltdowns will begin because all they can think about is having that wonderful treat!
5. Give lots of praise!
Be overly positive toward big sister or brother. Encourage them and praise them for being so gentle and tell them how much baby brother or sister loves it when they hold them! Make the experience all about them rather than all about baby!
With these 5 strategies up your sleeve, you’ll have a much easier time getting cooperation out of your toddler or preschool during your newborn session! No matter what, though, the key is to remember that big brother or sister is going through a life-altering transition. Sensitivity and support is key during this time and will make a world of difference in how your older child deals with this new stage of life.
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Being a mama of little ones is hard. Between Mom-guilt and the unattainable idea that moms should be able to do everything for everyone, get very little time to herself and feel fulfilled by it, we need all the support we can get! You aren't in this alone. We're here to walk through the ups and downs of motherhood together in a judgment-free, supportive way.
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