Is it okay to give your child and incentive during a session?
Picture day can be a very, very stressful time if you have children. Finding the right outfit and a date that everyone is available on already causes you a headache. Once you have that down, though, everything is smooth sailing. You have prepared everything to be perfect, and then your worst nightmare happens – your child won’t cooperate. Even after you’ve coached him or her for the past two weeks and the entire car ride leading up to the session, your kiddo still just isn’t having it. You’ve tried all of the usual tricks and nothing is working. Sounds terrible, right?
Well, I’m here today to save you from this nightmare, and help you prevent this from even happening. Behold the power of incentives. I know some people frown upon this, however, they probably haven’t tried to get a two, six, and 10-year-old to sit in one position together, look at the camera, and smile. It’s no easy task! As a photographer, I’m going to give you the green light and tell you that it’s OK to give your kids and incentive for the sake of good photos.
We have a very limited amount of time to get all of the photos that you need, and I don’t want you to be stressed out or feel crunched for time because little Timmy is having a meltdown, is hiding behind his hands the entire session, or sticking his tongue out at me. So, I welcome incentives with arms wide open. You being relaxed means they will be relaxed. Kids can feel when their parents are tense and if you are happy they will be happy during the session.
Every child is different when it comes to incentives. They all have different personalities and like different things. Some children are motivated by candy, others cash. You just have to find out what works best for your child.
Here are some suggestions that we’ve noticed have worked.
· Candy or fruit snacks
· Dinner at their favorite restaurant after the session
· Later bedtime
· That awesome toy they’ve been drooling over
· Extra TV time
· Extended play time
· They don’t have to eat their vegetables that night at dinner
· They don’t have to do chores the next day
· Give them back a privilege that’s been taken away the last time they were in trouble
· Special time with mommy/daddy.
While these aren’t the only options, we thought we’d give you a starting point to brainstorm your own ideas to help get your child to cooperate.