It’s a struggle to get my preschooler to cooperate with pictures, and if you can relate then you need to read this!
I’ve developed some downright devious tactics to get my preschooler to cooperate with pictures, and even like it!
Follow these 9 steps and your preschooler will be cooperating with pictures for you too!
The first battle: Get your preschooler’s permission to take his/her picture
Step 1: Bribe.
This is a great go-to tactic to get the ball rolling. It should work on most kids.
But if you have an extra stubborn preschooler, more devious tactics are required — advance to step 2.
Step 2: Ignore.
Act like it doesn’t matter if she won’t do it, and take pictures of other people instead. Two things may happen:
a) She will notice that your photo subjects are getting your attention, and your attention is valuable to her. She’ll want her picture to get your attention.
b) If you take pictures of her siblings, sibling rivalry/jealousy will creep up and she’ll want her picture taken too.
If this still fails, advance to step 3.
Step 3: Tap into FOMO.
Remind her what the pictures are for, and that she will be left out if she doesn’t get her picture taken.
I.e. “I guess Grandma won’t have a Christmas picture of you on her wall then.”
If these tactics still don’t work, save it for another day. Try not to make a big deal about it and don’t force it on her, or she’ll be much less likely to cooperate next time.
If they do work, you have permission to take some (or at least one) picture. Now you face the second battle.
The second battle: Get your preschooler to enjoy having his/her pictures taken
Step 4: Let her think she’s in charge.
Make her think the pictures are her idea. Let her make decisions and be involved.
Give her the control she craves by letting her choose her outfit (from a selection you put out if necessary). Let her choose where to stand and sit, and what activities to do.
Step 5: Pretend you don’t want a specific photo.
Would you like a beautiful photo of your child staring straight into the camera with sparkling eyes and a glowing smile full of joy? Or some other frame-worthy photo you have in mind? Word to the wise: never, NEVER ask her to smile or pose.
Preschoolers are incapable of giving a natural smile on demand. They will stare off to the side while gritting their teeth at you like an angry dog.
And they can’t pose because they can’t follow subtle directions. Tell her to look up and she’ll crane her neck to the ceiling. It’s just not natural.
Let her move around and be herself, and try to take photos at the right moments.
Step 6: Distract.
Engage with her — ask her questions, tell her jokes — trying to make her completely forget that you’re taking her picture all the while.
This is a distraction from the camera and the chore of having her picture taken. Plus it brings out her natural expressions.
Step 7: Let loose.
Let her be silly, let her play, and be a giant goofball yourself.
Maybe even let her break some (minor) house rules like jumping on the couch, with boots on. Encourage her to have fun.
Step 8. Be a quick cucumber.
Don’t take too long — your window of opportunity is short before she gets bored/tired/hungry and wants to do something else.
So work quickly to take as many photos as you can while acting relaxed and calm like a cool cucumber.
Step 9: Earn trust.
Follow through on any promises. If you tell her one more picture or one more minute, stick to your word! It will help build trust and make the battle easier next time.
So now that you’re armed with these devious tactics, go get some pictures of your adorable, stubborn preschooler!