First day school pictures

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First day at primary school

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Every primary school organises the first day slightly differently and it’s unlikely that the whole class will all start at the same time. You may find that your child begins with shorter days that gradually increase, or that they may not be at school every day during the first week as different groups of children have their first day.

However your school organises things, there’s lots you can do to help make the first day successful.

The night before

  • Get everything ready. Double-check that all clothes and bags are labelled, lay out your child’s uniform and have bags packed and ready for the morning. This will leave time for any last-minute talks or perhaps a special breakfast.
  • Talk about the exciting day ahead. Remind your child about the fun things waiting for them at school, but also talk them through what to do if they aren’t sure about anything or have any worries (and go over what to do if they need the loo again).

Going to school

  • Leave plenty of time to get there. Rushing to get everyone ready and out of the door in the morning is part of being a parent, but getting there nice and early on the first day will help it to be an enjoyable experience for you and your child.
  • Take a photo. Well, it’s their first day at school!
  • Say a (quick) goodbye. It’s best to keep the goodbye as quick and free from drama as possible. Remind them that you’ll pick them up using language they’ll remember (‘just after you’ve had lunch’ or ‘after story time’) and tell them to enjoy themselves. If your child becomes upset, try to remain calm. Stay for a short time and then slip away. The staff will be experienced at dealing with upset children, and will soon have your child distracted and busy doing something exciting. The school will contact you if they remain upset.
  • Say hello to other parents. You might know some of the other parents in the playground already, but if not, go and say hello. Getting to know other parents can be a great support and depending on who your child makes friends with, you might be seeing a lot of each other over the next few years.
  • Plan something to do. If you don’t have to rush off to work, it can be a good idea to have something planned to distract you from worrying about how things are going. Your child will be having a great time, so try not to fret!

Hopefully your child will have a perfect first day and will fall in love with school straight away – but don’t panic if that doesn’t happen! It may take your child some time to adjust to their new routine, and that is fine. Remember to be positive and supportive however your child finds their first day, and they find their feet before you know it.

Starting school checklist

We’ve put together a handy checklist of things to do over the summer to help your child get ready for primary school. Download it and stick it to your fridge, then tick off each item as you get closer to their first day, from labelling their school uniform to trips to the park!

11 Tips for Having a Great First Day of School

Make your child’s first day of school fun and stress-free with a little preparation.

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While excitement might be in the air over new clothes and school supplies, it’s only natural for kids — and parents — to have a few worries about changing routines and heading back to the classroom.

“There is ample research that supports the idea that the single-most important factor in promising a child a good school year is his or her parents’ involvement,” says Ann Pleshette Murphy, author of “The 7 Stages of Motherhood.”

To start the school year off right and make the transition easier, follow these 11 tips from Murphy and Brenda Nixon, M.A., a parenting expert who blogs at Beyond Buggies & Bonnets.

  1. Talk to Your Child Care Provider
    Your child care provider — whether it’s a nanny, babysitter, or mother’s helper — is an important part of the routine. “Make sure your child care provider knows the routine before the start of school,” Murphy reports. “A big source of stress for preschoolers is whether mom will be there to pick them up. So, if a babysitter or another relative will be meeting your child after school, make sure they know.

  2. Establish a New Bed Time
    Weeks ahead of time, start getting into the new routine so the night before school is a lot easier. As Nixon advises, “Put them to bed earlier each evening in preparation for school bedtime. During the school year, kids need to go to bed early in the evening so they get enough rest. Kids who are well-rested perform better in school.”

  3. Get Organized and Prepared Early
    In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, get everything together — and that means more than just school supplies. “Make sure you have all the required medical forms, permission slips, etc. filled out before that big first day,” Murphy says. “The calmer and more organized you are, the better your child will feel about the start of school.”

  4. Help Your Child Prepare
    Get your child involved in the preparation process, too. Murphy says, “It’s always fun to go out shopping for a few new notebooks or a special pencil case. Having the right lunchbox or knapsack can make a child feel excited about the start of the year.”
    READ MORE: “How to Save Money on School Supplies ”

  5. Review the School Routine
    Establishing familiarity with the new routine is key. “Walk to school a few times or talk about your child’s routine before school starts,” Murphy says. “You might even snap some photos and put together a little book that shows your child landmarks along the way or reminds her of what the day will be like.”

  6. Meet the Teacher
    Build a relationship with your child’s teacher before the first day. Clue her into any struggles your child may have had last year and let her know that you want to be involved. “Many teachers welcome email correspondence, but find out what’s the best way to communicate outside of school,” suggests Murphy.

  7. Talk About Your Memories
    Share your own school experiences with your child and try to focus on the positive and be optimistic. Talk about your favorite teacher, great friends you made or a fun assignment you remember working on. “Was school a good experience for you? Or did you always dread this time of year,” Murphy asks. “If you had a hard time in school, it may be difficult to hide your feelings. Do what you can to be positive and optimistic, and to separate your own memories from your child’s experience.”

  8. Keep Calm
    Back-to-school season can get very anxious for families, as you’re all rushing to get things done. But try to avoid the chaos. Nixon says that if parents stay peaceful, there’s a greater chance the kids will, too. “Remain calm,” she says, “and promote a harmonious home life where children feel safe and as stress-free as possible.”
    READ MORE: “7 Tips for Staying Calm ”

  9. Get Ready the Night Before
    The night before school will be full of excitement, and it’s the perfect time to start getting ready for the big day. Nixon suggests you, “Lay out backpacks, clothes, homework and anything else needed in the morning to cut down on morning chaos.”
    Once everything is set for the next day, focus on having a fun and relaxing evening. Make it a family night with a special dinner, a celebratory dessert and some bonding time. Check out this list of 101 Fun Things to Do with Kids This Summer. See if you missed anything and if you can squeeze it in before school starts in the morning.
    Let your kids take the lead on school nights with our printable preschooler checklist and elementary-aged checklist.

  10. Be On Time
    Once the big day has arrived, keep to the schedule, which will be easier if you prepared as much as possible. “There’s nothing more anxiety-provoking than being rushed out the door, or, at the end of the day, being the last child waiting in the classroom,” Murphy says.

  11. Plan Some Fun
    Brainstorm ideas with your kids for things to do when school ends on the first day. Yes, you may have to run and grab some last-minute school supplies, but when that’s taken care of what is something fun you can do together? Knowing this plan is in place will help get you and your kids through the initial stressors of that first day.

Having a first great day of school starts weeks ahead of time, but with these tips from the experts, your kids can have a stress-free and exciting first day of school.

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer.

Experiencing True Love


When it comes to finding your soul mate, they say you just “know” they’re the one—there’s no second-guessing and no uncertainty. That person suddenly becomes the sun in your world and you completely revolve around them. True love is an amazingly powerful thing to experience.

Soul Mates 30 Years in the Making


For Amy Giberson and Justin Pounders, they simply just “knew” that the universe had made them for one another. Justin couldn’t imagine anyone else walking down the aisle on his wedding day–and Amy knew he was the man for her the moment she laid eyes on him. However, one day, when Amy showed her preschool class picture to Justin, he was absolutely dumbfounded with what he saw in the corner of the photo.

A Young Love


When Amy was a young girl, she grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. During her time in preschool, she had a crush on a boy in her class. This junior romance blossomed over playing with building blocks and lunch dates in the schoolyard. Even 30 years later, Amy’s preschool teacher remembers the love that flourished between the two.

The Playground Crush


Amy’s teacher, who ran Sunshine Preschool, told PEOPLE magazine, “They had a blast with each other. It was a quiet, bashful romance. They liked each other from afar, it was a young love, like a sweet crush.”

Going Separate Ways


Of course, the young love was doomed to be only temporary. After graduating kindergarten Amy and her young beau went there separate ways. Amy would move away, grow up and attend a university; the memories of her 3-year-old crush fading away.

History of Broken Relationships


Sadly for Amy, her romantic life would never reach the heights of her preschool fling. She would be hurt often and, according to her friends, always wore her heart on her sleeve. True love for Amy seemed off the table.

Too Trusting and Loving


Amy told Cosmopolitan magazine in 2016, “People would tell me, ‘Don’t be so open, Amy. Don’t trust so easily.’ But if I stopped doing that, it wouldn’t be me. It’s just absolutely nuts that I was the tragically misguided girl who was always let down.”

Single and Ready to Mingle


At the age of 32, Amy was still single and decided to move back to her hometown of St. Petersburg with the hopes of settling down. On a whim, she decided to dip her toe in the dating pool and that’s when her profile caught the eye of local Justin Pounders.

A Tragic Past


Justin’s love life had been far from perfect as well. In 2012, his fiancé was tragically murdered on the night they were to move in together. She had actually been out with her roommate for “moving out drinks” when the horrific crime was committed.

The Right Time


Now, years later, Justin finally felt ready to move on from the loss of his girlfriend. He moved back to St. Petersburg and like Amy, placed a profile online. When he saw Amy’s profile, he instantly felt a connection. Could love finally be in the cards for these two singles?

Perfect Connection


According to Justin, when he first viewed Amy’s profile he was instantly drawn to her. He loved her energy and spark for life and just knew he had to get to know her. Reaching out, they arranged their first date, excited to see the possibilities.

A First Date to Remember


The pair met at a restaurant in December 2014 for their first date. Amy was instantly attracted to Justin and revealed to PEOPLE that it felt like she had known him her whole life. The waiter must have picked up on their connection because he even marked the date on their dessert plate.

Love At First Sight


After their first date, they began to meet up every day as love quickly took hold. According to Amy, she knew from their very first dinner that she was going to have dinner with Justin for the rest of her life. Talk about destined to be together, right?

The Shock of a Lifetime


After dating for months, Justin mentioned one day that he always liked the name Amy because it reminded him of his first crush in preschool. It was then that Amy began to notice Justin touching a scar on his forehead, which he revealed he got when he cut his head open on monkey bars at preschool. It was then that the remaining pieces clicked into place. Amy and Justin realized that they both attended Sunshine Preschool 30 years earlier. Amy immediately phoned her mother and asked for pictures from her days in preschool and what she found was shocking. The crush both of them had had so many years ago, was on each other. True love had finally found them both, even after 30 years.

Happily Ever After


On November 2016, the couple was wed in St. Petersburg in a fairytale wedding. A beautiful love story that was 30 years in the making. We wish them nothing but everlasting happiness!


When you meet the love of your life, some say that you “just know”. That’s exactly what happened when Amy Giberson started dating Justin Pounders. She “just knew” that he was the man she wanted to walk down the aisle with. But that all changed when she showed him an old picture of herself in preschool. What he saw in the corner of the photo completely blew his mind.

The relationship was going great and marriage was inevitable. But exactly one year after their very first date, Amy and Justin made a shocking realization during a car ride.


Soulmates In The Making

For Amy Giberson and Justin Pounders, they simply just “knew” that the universe had made them for one another. Justin couldn’t imagine anyone else walking down the aisle towards him on his wedding day. From the moment Amy laid her eyes on him, she knew he was the man for her. One day, Amy showed her preschool class picture to Justin and he was absolutely dumbfounded with what he saw in the corner of the photo.


Young Love

Amy grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. During her time in preschool, she had a crush on a boy in her class. Their relationship with each other was built by playing with building blocks and having lunch dates in the schoolyard. To this day, Amy’s preschool teacher remembers the love that the two had together.


Playground Crush

Amy’s teacher actually ran Sunshine Preschool, and when interviewed, she told PEOPLE magazine, “They had a blast with each other. It was a quiet, bashful romance. They liked each other from afar, it was a young love, like a sweet crush.”

From the start, their love was doomed to only be short-lived because of their age. After graduating kindergarten Amy and her young love went their separate ways. Amy moved away and as she grew up and went to college, the memories of her 3-year-old crush faded away.

History Of Broken Relationships

Amy’s romantic life was never perfect. She never felt she reached the height of connection she had with her preschool love. She was hurt often and, according to her friends, always wore her heart on her sleeve. True love for Amy seemed to be something only others had.

Northern Minnesota girl wins bid to pose with gun in yearbook photo

In a Blackduck High School yearbook, more than 20 students posing for the trap shooting team photo are seen holding their shotguns on a snowy hill, each wearing a black shirt with a school logo.

So when one of the team’s best shooters, senior Antonia Long, posed for a senior portrait resting her gun across her shoulders as she leaned against a barn, she didn’t think it would be a problem getting that into the book, either.

Administrators weren’t so sure.

At the suggestion of the superintendent, Long took her request to the school board in Blackduck, a city of about 800 people northeast of Bemidji, which recently decided to allow her photo to be published. It also promised to come up with a new policy clarifying which photographs that include guns are OK to print in the keepsake annual.

It’s an issue more administrators and school boards around the state are grappling with as participation in trap shooting, now the seventh-most popular sport in Minnesota high schools, skyrockets.

“It’s tricky … I’m not sure anybody has a tried and true, right or wrong. There will always be people from either side of the aisle that are going to jump on it,” said Blackduck Superintendent Mark Lundin. “Typically guns and schools don’t mix. But yet, where a lot of people live in outstate Minnesota, that’s part of our daily lives with hunting and fishing.”

Nearly 12,000 students from more than 400 of the state’s approximately 500 schools participate on trap shooting teams, sport leaders said. It’s quick growth for a sport that started in schools in 2001.

“Even in the state of hockey, we are larger than boys’ and girls’ high school hockey combined,” said John Nelson, president of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League. “It’s an amazing accomplishment.”

High School League role

Long, who has been on Blackduck’s team since it started when she was in 7th grade, said the sport has helped her learn the importance of patience, diligence and hard work.

Team members compete virtually, shooting flying clay targets at local gun ranges and reporting their scores online. Boys and girls compete together and, in most cases, team sizes are unlimited.

As with robotics, badminton and synchronized swimming, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) is a “presenting partner” to the activity, spokesman John Millea explained. It provides trophies and medals for state trap shooting tournaments, but during the season the competitions are governed by different groups.

Long, who won a state championship her sophomore year and last summer qualified individually for a National High School Trap Shooting competition in Michigan, said she loves competing even outside of school.

“I shoot on a team with my grandpa, so that’s fun,” Long said. “I can compete with people from all ages, all different kinds of backgrounds, and it’s just … something that really brings the community together.”

Sensitive topic

But to some, a school sport involving guns seems inappropriate in an era of mass school shootings around the country.

Students aren’t allowed to bring guns onto school property, but many schools allow students to earn a letter for participating in trap shooting like other extracurricular activities.

So figuring out where to allow depictions of the guns used in the sport is a sensitive topic.

After the issue surfaced in Big Lake in 2017, school administrators established a policy excepting the trap shooting team from its no-weapons-in-the-yearbook rule, allowing for guns to be included in team pictures and any approved photos taken by yearbook staff. Senior portraits must be head shots, with no props allowed.

In Crookston, after a student submitted a yearbook portrait that displayed a gun, the school board decided last year that guns would be allowed in trap shooting team photos, but not in individual photos.

Hastings, which has the state’s largest trap shooting team, has long allowed photos of guns in senior portraits, as long as they’re done “in good taste,” said high school principal Mike Johnson. Some students have had photos taken with their hunting guns and dogs, he said.

“It’s their senior picture and if they have a personal interest, that’s fine. We don’t want the gun being pointed at anyone … If this is to represent who you are and what your interests are … we’ll work with you,” Johnson said. “It is a hard one because certainly with violence in our schools, I think … each community does things differently.”

Gary Lee, deputy executive director of the Minnesota School Boards Association, said he and his staff have been fielding more calls about the issue the past few years. Their advice: Districts have to figure out what is appropriate in their communities.

“It really boils down to the school district making a choice on how their community would respond to it and the balance of being able to show the students’ interests vs. not promote violence,” Lee said. “In general, we’ll see that a weapon, which is used for the trap teams, may be in a team event and a team photo, but when it comes to senior pictures … generally the school district will say ‘no’ to that. … They’ve got to look at their community and see what works best for their community.”

In Blackduck, superintendent Lundin said the board wanted more time to draw up a policy taking into account several scenarios.

In a senior portrait, for instance, a student holding a gun might be perceived differently if he or she were wearing a trap shooting uniform vs. street clothes, he said.

The high school posts senior portrait composites in hallways for years to come, Lundin said. He wondered how such photos might look to future generations, should perceptions change.

The board was also asked about photos of students who enjoy archery or other hobbies where weapons are used.

“There’s just so many twists to this,” he said.

The administration’s thinking on the issue has evolved over the years. Photos of the trap shooting team in its earlier years did not include guns, Lundin said.

Makes her case

At the district’s school board meeting in December, Long read aloud a letter that she wrote with the help of a teacher, she said.

“I realize the fear and concern people have about there being a firearm in the school’s yearbook, but I am here to tell you I am not the concern,” she wrote.

Cynthia Nord, chairwoman of the school board, said in an e-mail before the vote that several community members had called her insisting that the board allow the picture to be published in the annual.

“Trap shooting is a MSHSL-sanctioned activity, as any other sport,” Nord wrote. “In the past we have always allowed extracurricular equipment in senior pictures that are used in the yearbook. I believe to disallow Ms. Long to use the picture with her firearm used for trap shooting would not only be unfair but discrimination.”

Long said she’s glad she took her case to the board and hopes it will set policy for future students.

“It feels pretty good,” she said.

What to Wear on School Picture Day

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Getting the best school pictures is easy once you know the tricks of the trade.

Seeing the changes that take place over 12-13 years of school is fun for parents most immediately and becomes fun for the actual subjects much later. When the windowed envelopes are distributed by the homeroom teachers, it’s often a time of either sharing or frantically trying to hide them as fast as possible. Either way, they are a reality for anyone who attends school.

Getting the best looking pictures is important to all parties involved and is easily achievable if you know the tricks of the trade. Choosing a shirt color that flatters your skin tone should be on the top of your list. Not sure what colors look best on you, check this out. Once you’ve determined whether you have cool or warm skin tones you’ll want to select a top that flatters your tone. Think solid and either bright or dark colors as they will show up best and provide the greatest contrast to skin tones on various background colors.

Whatever you decide to wear, it’s best to stay away from busy patterns like plaids and polka dots. No matter how cute the outfit might be, the pattern will distract from your facial features and that’s really what you and your mom want to see after all.

School picture day is close at hand, just in time to get good pictures of the kids to give out to relatives at Christmas.

Like many people, I have been a victim of terrible school pictures… I’m talking about the images that would have been made into Internet memes if the Internet had been around back then (okay, the Internet was around, but no one knew how to use it).

So to help future generations avoid school picture day disasters of their own, I’m here to share my knowledge. With any luck, your kid won’t sneeze or blink, and you’ll have a wonderful image you can frame, share and treasure.


First things first, use a neutral background. Sure, they have the options of all those colors that will match your child’s beautiful eyes, but what do you want to shine more: the background or your kid? With a neutral brown or gray background, your child will stand out better. Not to mention, it’s hard to find a place in your beach-themed living room for a photo with a red or purple background.


What will they wear? Thanks to the use of a neutral background, it won’t be hard to make sure your little one is dressed in a complementary color. Let them wear their favorite nice shirt or sweater, something they will be comfortable in.

Learning Experience: One year, my mother wanted me to wear a new wool sweater for my picture. It was literally so hot and itchy that I was red in the face and sweaty (my bangs were matted to my forehead) and my smile was as fake as fake can be because I was downright uncomfortable.

Hair Styling

Make sure your child has a good hair day. Get their hair cut a week or two before school picture day so they look clean cut while still giving it time to grow out a little and look natural. The night before, have them wash and style their hair. For the lucky girls with curly hair, it’s a good idea for them to wet their hair the morning off and style it with the help of a diffuser attachment on a hair dryer. Avoid the ponytail or any slicked back, stuck to the head looks.

Learning Experience: I had school pictures right after a great game of P.E. basketball. My curly hair was frizzed up in all kinds of ways so I soaked it in the sink and put it in a ponytail. The effect? I looked bald as the day I was born in my school picture. Not to mention, my nose was still sweating so my glasses managed to slide down to the tip of my nose… I looked like an old man. Eeeexcellent!


Is your daughter old enough for makeup? If you have a tween, here’s a good plan – convince her to let you do her makeup and go for a natural look. Use a little bit of sheer powder, a hint of shadow and mascara, and maybe some lip gloss.

Learning Experience: I’ve never had an issue with applying too much makeup, but for some reason, I was determined not to have dark circles under my eyes for my sixth grade picture. I broke into my mom’s makeup and used yellow concealer and highlighter and essentially pasted those on. Talk about a great look.

Safe Lunch Packing

Don’t forget to pack a safe lunch. This is especially important for small children prone to spilling and kids with braces. Aim for foods that won’t stick in teeth. Here is my NO WAY list of picture day foods: Broccoli, spinach, celery, orange, corn on the cob, chips, chocolate anything, concord grape juice, popcorn, and black bean soup.

Learning Experience: School pictures were right after snack time one year. My mom had packed me a super healthy orange, and I didn’t think a thing of it until we got the pictures, and there were pieces of orange sticking out from between all of my teeth. This happened to also be the same day I had on the above mentioned wool sweater. What a great year…

Special Instructions

Give your child specific instructions. Have them remove their glasses so the flash doesn’t obscure their beautiful eyes. Tell them to smile with their teeth. You might even give them something funny to think about so you can capture their real smile. And remind them not to look into the light, which often leads to squinting and sneezing, two common school photo mishaps.

Learning Experience: From first grade until fifth grade, I amassed a collection of the most super-cool glasses you could imagine. I mean, these things practically allowed my cheeks and forehead to see, and they came in great colors like red and hot pink. I switched it up in fifth grade and got Harry Potter glasses because he was just the coolest. The first couple years, my school photos were a running record of my stylish eyewear. Finally, my parents gave me the instructions to take my glasses off so they could see my eyes. It would have been the best picture ever… except that this happened to be the year of the concealer and highlighter conundrum.

The moral of the story? School pictures are stressful but with a little preparation and foresight, you can wind up with a cute snapshot of your little angel. And if not, well there’s always next year!

Now that I’ve shared my embarrassing photo stories, it’s your turn. What was the worst school picture you ever took?

In today’s post: Tired of chasing your toddler around to get a great photo? Check out these top 10 toddler photography tips so you can get gorgeous pictures of your little one!

Toddlers are notoriously hard to get good pictures of. There are three main obstacles: 1 – They don’t want to sit still for ANYTHING, and certainly not for a photo. 2 – Even if they do stop moving, it’s hard to get them to look into the camera. 3 – It’s almost impossible to get a good smile from a toddler just by asking for one. To help you take better toddler pictures, I’m sharing my top ten toddler photography tips with you today.

Top ten toddler photography tips: how to get them to sit still + look

Toddler Photography Tip #1: Give the toddler somewhere to sit.

This tip is especially important for younger toddlers, who have learned to walk recently enough that they do it every waking minute. It’s really hard to get your photos in focus if you’re chasing an 18 month old around the room. It’s much simpler if you provide somewhere for the child to sit – a stool, rocking horse, stump, bench, chair, etc. Have your camera out and ready before you sit the toddler down because he may only stay there a moment or two – but even a few moments of stillness is better than running around like a crazy person snapping photos while calling to the kid to please just stop and look! (not that I’ve ever done that…)

In the photos above I convinced a reluctant toddler to sit on a rocking horse. Wooden items like rocking horses, stools or benches make great seating options for photo shoots because their neutral color means they won’t be distracting in the final photo – but if you really don’t like how the “prop” looks in the photo you can usually crop it right out.

Toddler Photography Tip #2: Give her something to hold. Again, this is more helpful for the younger set. You might have your daughter trapped on a stool that she can’t get down from, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to look at you or smile at you. Be prepared with a small toy (or grab a leaf or flower it you’re outside). Hand the item to the toddler and give her a few minutes to look at and play with it. Then just wait, camera at the ready, until she looks up at you to share her delight – then capture the expression.

Toddler Photography Tip #3: Give her something to look at. Toddlers seem to know you want them to look at you, but do everything in their power to avoid making actual eye contact. Wheedling, threatening, and bribing occasionally work, but giving them something interesting to look at works better. Did you know that if you file down the feet of a Pez dispenser just a bit it fits into the external flash attachment of your dSLR? No kidding. It’s fantastic. Pick a princess Pez or a Lightning McQueen Pez and stick him on top of your camera, then show your child that the Pez gives out candy for kids who look at him. Find out how to attach a Pez dispenser to your camera here.

Or, grab a bunny ear headband from the dollar store at Easter (or a Shamrock one at St Patty’s, etc) and pop it on your head when the child’s not looking. Then keep asking them what’s on your head and how it got there. They’ll stare right at you, and probably laugh. I’ve even tied bells to my wrist and jingled them up by my camera to get a great toddler picture.

Also – move around a bit while you talk to the child – stand up, sit down, lean to the left or right. Your motion will naturally draw her eyes toward you, and you’ll be able to get photos from a variety of angles.

Toddler Photography Tip #4: Let them see themselves inside the camera. Getting pictures taken is just a chore to a little kid who’d rather be running around and playing. So snap a few whether she’s cooperative or not, then show them to her on the back of your camera. Tell her you got her inside the camera, and she’ll immediately be more interested in the camera and more likely to look at it when you start shooting again.

Toddler Photography Tip #5: Ask him to play copycat. This works better for older toddlers (2&3 yr olds) who will be able to understand what you’re asking. Sit or lie down and strike a simple pose, then ask the toddler if he can do the same thing. Try a few funny poses first to get him involved and tell him what a great copycat he is when he copies your pose. Them move on to other poses and ask him if he can be a copycat and then freeze in that position while you take his picture. As long as you keep telling him what a great job he’s doing, he’ll likely continue to copy you for at least a couple of poses.

Top ten toddler photography tips: how to get a great smile

Ever asked a three year old to smile? If you have, you know that you generally end up with something more like a grimace than a grin. Toddlers and preschoolers are tough to photograph – getting pictures taken feels like a chore to them. They’d rather be running around and playing, so if you’ve convinced them to sit still for a minute, chances are you’ll end up with a cheesy smile or a grumpy look. These next five toddler picture tips involve ways to get a great, natural looking smile.

Toddler Photography Tip #6: Ask silly questions. You CANNOT just tell a toddler to please look at you and smile for a good picture and expect it to work. Some young kids are very shy and won’t even want to make eye contact with you, let alone smile at you. And believe me, little kids are stubborn – they’ll wait forever, looking everywhere except at you, until you’re ready to throw in the towel.

When I have a reluctant toddler or preschoooler, I lower the camera and spend a few minutes making very silly small talk. With this little girl I talked for a few minutes about favorite TV shows and then started snorting like a pig and pretending I couldn’t figure out where that noise was coming from. Once you’ve grabbed the child’s attention, you can bring the camera back up and start asking silly questions: “does your Daddy wear diapers?” or “is there an elephant on my head?” or “how old are you? about 25?” Once she’s more comfortable you’ll be much more likely to get a natural smile from her.

Toddler Photography Tip #7: Offer a small, tidy treat. If your toddler is on the younger end and talking to her isn’t working you might end up with photo after photo that looks like this:

Sometimes a little something sweet can break the ice. I try to always keep Smarties handy when photographing kids – they’re tiny, they don’t make a mess, and I can dole out one at a time over and over again without giving anyone a sugar high. Hand over the candy and give your child a minute to start eating. Then be ready to snap a shot when she grins in enjoyment.

Toddler Photography Tip #8: Don’t ask for a smile – surprise him into one. If you request a smile from an obliging preschooler, you’ll probably end up with this:

Good try, but not quite what you’re looking for. Instead, ask him to close his eyes and then after a minute make a loud sound like a sneeze or a bark. He’ll be startled at first, but will probably laugh for a few minutes and maybe even smile at you afterward. (Be careful about using this with very shy kids who might get scared.)

Toddler Photography Tip #9: Ask for a sad face. When he gives you a look like this:

…you can say, “Ok, now don’t smile. Don’t smile! Not even a tiny bit – no I’m serious, don’t smile!” Most kids bust up laughing after a few minutes of trying hard not to smile. (But don’t forgot to take a picture of the sad face as well!)

Toddler Photography Tip #10: If all else fails, ask him to scream as loud as he can. It might take a little encouragement, but most little kids love to scream. And after they do – they’ll smile. You just can’t scream as loud as you can for no reason and then NOT smile. It’s a universal law of nature. Or something like that.

Remember, it’s HARD to get great toddler pictures, and you can’t expect the perfect eye-contact and a cherubic smile every time you try. Some days it just doesn’t happen. The good new is that a smile isn’t the only expression worth recording. Sometimes other expressions are just as precious:

Want more photography tips? Check out these posts:

DIY newborn photos

Posing ideas for boys

Posing ideas for girls

How to set up a home photo studio

20 DIY photography backdrops

Shakira and Gerard Piqué have been together for almost 10 years and although they rarely talk about their relationship, the two do love sharing photos of their kids, Milan, 6, and Sasha, 4.

The 42-year-old singer—who is scheduled to perform the half-time show with Jennifer Lopez at the upcoming 2020 Super Bowl LIV and has an HBO concert doc airing soon—and the 32-year-old soccer player welcomed their first son, Milan Piqué Mebarak, on January 22, 2013. “The name Milan (pronounced MEE-lahn), means dear, loving and gracious in Slavic; in Ancient Roman, eager and laborious; and in Sanskrit, unification,” Shakira said after his birth, according to a statement.

One year later, Shakira announced she was pregnant with their second child. On January 29, 2015, the family of three became a foursome with the addition of another son named Sasha Piqué Mebarak. “The name Sasha is of Greek and Russian descent and means ‘defender of mankind’ and ‘warrior,” she wrote on Instagram.

After welcoming Sasha, Shakira spoke candidly about life as a mother of two.

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“It’s shifted the axis of my universe. Everything is centered around them now. It’s a new dimension of love, at least for me, that’s indescribable,” she told PopSugar in 2016. “It’s also helped me be more disciplined overall about sticking to a schedule now, because you’re forced to prioritize. Before I was my own boss, but I have two tiny bosses to answer to now.”

In honor of Shakira and Pique’s precious family, check out some of the best pictures they’ve shared of their kids so far.

Piqué and the kids are always there to support Shakira.

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Gracias a @los40spain por esta noche! A mi equipo y a mi mgmt Jay Brown y Jaime Levine, por estar conmigo hoy y ayudarme tanto siempre!! / Thanks to Los 40 for tonight! To my team and my management Jay Brown and Jaime Levine, for being with me today & helping me always!! Shak

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Dec 1, 2016 at 3:06pm PST

At LOS40 Music Awards in 2016, Shakira had her family there to cheer her on during the show.

Of course, they always celebrate the holidays together.

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Felices fiestas! Happy holidays! Shak

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Dec 27, 2018 at 3:14pm PST

Shakira shared this sweet family photo around the holidays in 2018.

Milan and Sasha could easily follow mom’s musical footsteps.

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We rock too Mommy!

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Aug 4, 2018 at 9:53am PDT

Take a look at their rocker outfits. Think they’ll form their own band someday?

Soccer time is sacred in this family.

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‪Vamos Colombia! 🇨🇴⚽🏆‬

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Jun 19, 2018 at 5:17am PDT

While the family cheers on dad when he’s on the field for FC Barcelona, they also make sure to support mom’s home country of Colombia with matching jerseys.

Sasha is quickly falling in love with mom’s music.

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Sasha, into the music! Shak

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Apr 13, 2016 at 12:27pm PDT

As a baby, Sasha clearly liked listening to Shakira play.

Milan is the spitting image of his mom.

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At the Meiji Shrine, in 2012 I made two wishes and they came true! Shak #tbt

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Dec 24, 2015 at 7:06am PST

Can you see the resemblance in this picture?

They definitely know how to get in costume.

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La familia Topo Gigio!!

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Oct 31, 2015 at 8:10pm PDT

For Halloween in 2015, the family dressed up as characters from the 1960s Italian puppet show, Topo Gigio.

Shakira likes to bring her kids to work.

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With my two real gurus #LoveRocks Shak

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Oct 15, 2015 at 2:25am PDT

Here they are with her while she’s on set shooting.

Sasha even made an appearance in Shakira’s film.

In the film Shakira In Concert: El Dorado World Tour, Sasha makes a cameo and shows just how much he cares about his mom.

Milan loves the camera.

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November 17th / 17 de Noviembre. Shak

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Nov 17, 2013 at 1:39pm PST

At least this evidence says so.

Sasha’s got style.

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Mi niño se me está creciendo muy rápido! My baby is growing up so fast! Shak

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Mar 3, 2019 at 6:15pm PST

Just look at how fierce his pose is.

Piqué, Sasha, and Milan definitely know how to paint.

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Pintando huevos de Pascua! Felices Pascuas!! / Painting Easter eggs! Happy Easter!! Shak

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Apr 16, 2017 at 8:50am PDT

Talk about family bonding around Easter.

Sasha has his dad’s mesmerizing eyes.

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Daddy-Sasha time!

A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) on Dec 23, 2015 at 12:58pm PST

There’s no denying we could stare into these for hours.

Piqué is a loving father.

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Els meus dos mites.

A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) on May 18, 2015 at 4:27pm PDT

The look Milan is giving in this photo is everything.

New year, new family pictures.

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Happy 2018!

A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) on Dec 31, 2017 at 3:19pm PST

Shakira and her family started off 2018 in a cheerful manner.

Sometimes, the boys are not in a great mood.

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Mimosos.. | Us desitjem un Bon Nadal a tothom! Feliz Navidad a todos! Merry Christmas to everyone!

A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) on Dec 25, 2013 at 10:03am PST

Milan was clearly not feeling the holiday spirit on Christmas in 2013. But it’s still so cute!

Milan also manages to be silly.

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Uh oh, mommy’s been playing with my hair!

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Jan 25, 2014 at 7:10am PST

Looks like his mom had something to do with his hair, too.

What could Sasha be thinking?

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Me derrito! Shak

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Jan 4, 2016 at 7:18am PST

The expression on his face makes us smile.

Sasha has Shakira’s smile.

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Thanks for all the messages you sent for Sasha while he was sick. Everything is under control now, and he’s back to his cheerful self! / Gracias a todos por los mensajes cariñosos a Sasha durante los días que estuvo enfermito. Ahora todo bajo control y con la alegría de siempre! Shak

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Nov 15, 2016 at 11:16am PST

Based on this picture and the one above, do you think Sasha looks more like Shakira or Piqué?

Oh, the memories.

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Recordar es vivir. Papá con Sashi!! ⁣ To remember is to live. Dad with Sashi!!⁣ Shak

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Mar 6, 2019 at 4:05pm PST

Shakira shared this throwback of Sasha as a baby. He’s now 4.

Shakira and Milan’s bond is precious.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on May 11, 2014 at 3:12pm PDT

Someone captured this tender moment between the 42-year-old star and her son.

Brotherly love.

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Els meus mites.

A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) on May 26, 2016 at 11:13am PDT

Piqué posted this picture and we can only wonder what the two got up to.

Milan might be Shakira’s biggest fan.

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“Mommy thanks for bringing me to @nbcthevoice, so fun!! Though your fellow coaches are a doubtful influence on me, I’m ready for season 6!!”

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Jun 18, 2013 at 8:18pm PDT

When Shakira was a judge on NBC’s The Voice , Milan joined her on set and got to pose in the infamous red chair.

Boys will be boys.

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A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) on Oct 9, 2018 at 10:21am PDT

Milan and Sasha like to rough it out on the field just like Piqué.

All grown up.

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The Brothers! #Milan #Sasha #PiquéMebarak

A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) on Aug 13, 2018 at 9:22am PDT

Once they got a little older, the boys learned how to serve up silly faces for the camera.

Sasha has dad’s hair.

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Papa’s hair!!

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira) on Jul 24, 2016 at 9:33am PDT

Shakira shared this photo to show just how much her youngest son resembles a little Piqué.

Despite busy schedules, Shakira and Piqué make sure to spend quality family time with the boys.

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A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) on Jun 18, 2019 at 7:52pm PDT

Family vacations never looked this good!

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