Probably the most common reason I hear people skip family portrait sessions is because they are afraid their children will have a meltdown or not cooperate for the session. As a mom, I totally get that! Here are my best tips and tricks on how to handle a meltdown during your family session.
How to Handle a Meltdown During Your Family Session: Let Me Take Over
If you are comfortable with it, the best trick I have learned is for me to jump in as the authority figure when your little one starts to lose it. Sometimes with a parent, it’s easier to fall into old habits or push buttons. By inserting myself, I am a new adult – and one they are still scoping out, at that. So it’s a lot easier for me to take over and do my best to change the energy. As an elementary school teacher, I have plenty of experience with this. If you trust me to do my thing, I will do it! I usually bring in a distraction, employ your kiddo as a special helper or go plan a “surprise” for Mom and Dad to break the tantrum. It doesn’t work every single time, but most of the time it does the trick!
Take a Break
If your little one is struggling, we may need to take a break and that is OK. When I plan for a family session, I make sure to add some flex time in so that we’re not racing the sunset. This allows us to take a break when needed. In my posing workflow, I have plenty of opportunities for one child to walk away with a parent while still being able to continue the session with other family members. Sometimes a break is all everyone needs to reset.
How to Handle a Meltdown During Your Family Session: Stay Positive
This is probably my biggest piece of advice for a successful family session. So many times I have parents text me that they are running late to their session. My immediate response is “Don’t stress about it!” I always build extra time into my family sessions so that we are not rushed before sunset (this isn’t true for mini sessions). When you stress in the car about being late, your child immediately picks up on the fact that this is a stressful experience. I’d rather have you be late and everyone is positive, than arrive on time and everyone is already stressed. As an adult, do your best to stay calm, positive and upbeat. You’ll be surprised how quickly everyone follows suit.
Distractions are Key
At any given time, you can count on me to have a number of distractions in my camera bag for the inevitable meltdown. Distractions are often all a kiddo needs to reframe their mindspace and to reset. You know your child best, so we will work together to distract him/her from their meltdown and back to the playfulness of the session.
In conclusion, don’t let your worry about a possible meltdown deter you from booking a family portrait session. As a trained professional, I will make sure that everyone is able to be their best selves and we will work together to bring your vision to life.