How to include siblings for a fun and stress free newborn session.

Having a newborn is such an exciting time of life, and a perfect time for a photo session.

But it may also be a testing time for older siblings. They may feel like that swaddled little package gets all the attention now. They may feel left out and they may not feel like they're not quite as special anymore.

big brother reacts with funny face about baby sister while being included in newborn photo session

If there's one thing I'm good at and knowledgeable about, it's kids. And photos.

Here is a list I put together to help older siblings feel important and included during your photo session.

Prepare them.

Let your children know what's going on and what to expect. (On a side note, I expect your children to act like children. I am never surprised at melt downs and sassy looks.) Let them know to try to be helpful. Let them know it's going to be fun. Look at a few of their own baby photos, and let them know how happy you are to have them.

To help them feel important, introduce them to your photographer before the baby is introduced.

This takes out the "another person coming over to pay attention to the baby" attitude. And it's a pretty common attitude of siblings of newborns.

I always greet the older siblings first. Making a big deal out of them, and how happy I am to see them. I ask them questions about themselves. "How old are you?" "What's your favorite color?" "Can you do a cartwheel?" "I wonder if your teacher knows how to do a cartwheel?"

Have them do the introductions.

After chitchatting a bit about themselves, I ask them to introduce me to the new baby, asking questions along the way. "What is her middle name?" "Does this baby cry a lot?" "What makes this baby happy?"

Ask them to help out.

Kids love to be asked for help. They want to be big boy and big girl helpers. I explain that we are going to need some photos of this baby of theirs, and I would love to have some of them, too. I let them know they're welcome to just be themselves, and don't have to "say cheese" at me the whole time. They could even pretend I'm not taking photos for a while.

Let them lead.

Kids are naturals at just being themselves. They may want to carefully hold the baby, smell it's feet, boop the baby's nose, tell it a secret. Whatever seems right to them. If they're simply not interested in the baby, that's fine, too. Because they're interested in you and your attention. Simply sitting together, playing and interacting together makes for genuine and natural photos. And those are the best kind.

big brother holding baby sister on couch looking down at her

Take a break.

After getting some photos of family groupings, your older children will probably be ready for a break. Set them up with a snack or their favorite toys or playing with the other parent while we focus on getting the rest of our photos. Baby alone, Mom and baby, Dad and baby, etc.

Thank them for making it fun.

Be sure to let your older children know how much you appreciated their help with the baby during the session, and how proud your baby is to have such wonderful big brothers and sisters.

It's totally possible to have a newborn session with older siblings around. Include them, and create and celebrate together.

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