We worked together to plan the outfits, chose a date, find the perfect location. Now the day of your session is here! Here are a few of my favorite pieces of advice for parents at a family session:
Advice for Parents At a Family Session: Let Me Take the Reins
Let’s be honest, photo shoots can be stressful. You’re worried about getting there on time, if everyone looks good, the list goes on and on. However, as soon as you get to your session, it’s time to pass the responsibility over to me. When parents take a deep breath and allow the family to follow my lead, everyone relaxes. From the moment we meet up in the parking lot, you can expect me to give directions and take the lead. Through teaching and motherhood, I have learned that children often respond more readily to adults that aren’t Mom and Dad. Your kiddos will quickly realize that I’m in charge of things and once we start playing, it’ll be a piece of cake!
Advice for Parents: Expectations
Being proactive is my favorite piece of advice for parents at a family session. Honestly, it’s actually probably my favorite parenting strategy, too. Whenever I am going somewhere new with my own children, my husband and I are always very clear on expectations. We share 1-2 behaviors we expect to see from our kiddos (keep it positive!). Then as a family, we agree to a reward if everyone meets expectations. Friends, this is SO important to do ahead of time! When parents don’t discuss this ahead of time, they find they are offering their kids a trip to Disney World in exchange for a smile. Don’t fall into the trap! And bonus points if you can actually bring the reward with you. For kids under the age of 5, the promise of going out for ice cream is too abstract. Having an actual item or treat in your hand can work wonders.
Advice for Parents: Positive Vibes Only!
“Wow, that was actually a lot of fun!” – literally the best feedback I can hear. And all the better if it comes from Dad! Family sessions don’t have to be stressful. As you know at this point, your kiddos pick up on your vibe. If you are excited and relaxed, the will be too. I am sure to always reassure everyone in your family with my own calm demeanor. The more you can cultivate that in the car on the way to your family session, the better!
Advice for Parents: Get There Early-ish
One of the biggest stressors on parents can be arriving late. Whenever I get a panicked text “We’re running behind, be there in 10!”, I always remind parents to take a deep breath and slow down. Being stressed that you’re late puts your kiddos (and you!) on edge and it’s not the best way to kick things off. Instead, take a deep breath, slow down and get there when you get there. We will make it happen, mama!
Advice for Parents At a Family Session: Praise, Praise, Praise!
Finally, the most overlooked piece of advice. Be sure to give a lot of praise to your young family members throughout the session. Everyone likes to hear that they’re doing a great job. I will be sure to heap some love on myself, but your kids want to hear it from you. Actually, they probably want to hear it from you the most! Even if your child isn’t on their A-game, still find small things to praise. The positive reinforcement can go a long way.
Family sessions are my absolute favorite sessions. I love making memories with families, playing and having fun together. These are just some pieces of advice for parents at a family session that I’ve picked up on over the years. Remember, every family is unique and we will be sure to bring that out and celebrate it during your session.