Tuesday, December 8, 2009

5 Secrets To A Smiling Santa Photo

So you want that perfect, smiling Santa photo do you? Are you going to get one this year or is it going to be a screaming nightmare?

My daughter turned five years old this year and until now I do not have a Santa photo of her for Christmas' past. Why? Simple, being a shy child, who would not let anyone hold her except her father and I (not even grandparents), I knew there was no point in taking her to have her picture taken with Santa unless I could be happy with a picture like this one on the right, and feel good about it which I would not have.

So I learned to do without the Santa photos over the past 4 years but have come into possession of some very helpful tips to help avoid screaming and fear over sitting on Santa's lap for a picture.

Before we get into getting that non screaming picture with Santa it is important for parents to know how to handle the situation of fear with their child correctly for good and positive parenting. As parents we need to learn how to support our child in times of fear, as baby to child years has many different fears, which we as adults cannot gauge but a child's fears are just as bad as ours and worse, because young kids do not have a concept of time, or procedure in which to rely on for support in facing their fears. They only have us, their parents and how we handle their fears and get them through it in a positive nature is highly important toward their mental and psychological growth and toward their confidence as an older child and adult.

Toward the end of this article are you will find important information on handling a young child's fear in situations and the reasons behind why it is important to do.

Now here are some secrets to eliminating a precious but screaming face in your child's Santa Photo

Familiarize Your Child

It's helpful if your child is familiar with Santa Clause and is able to see him in real life, as apposed to just TV or books. Let your child see other children sitting on Santa's lap and taking pictures, but don't make a big deal about it. As your walking and shopping be sure to pass by the Santa's Grotto so your child can see Santa and his interaction with other kids.

Ask your child if he wants a picture taken with Santa and evaluate his response. If he seems to hesitant, offer to take the picture with him. If he seems ready to go for it then take him back to the picture taking session the following day. It is suggested this conversation take place after leaving the shopping center as apposed to doing it right in front of Santa's Grotto. This is so that your child feels relaxed and not put on the spot while he assess the situation. If he decides to go for it, take your child back to Santa's Grotto the following day.

Friends, Toys and Snacks

Kids often want to do something but their fear holds them back. To assist your child in not changing his mind when it comes time to sit on Santa's lap try the following:

*Let him take a friend with him.

*Let him take his favorite snack with him, even it's something you prefer he doesn't have. After all, this is a special occasion and hopefully next year all will be well.

*Let him take his favorite toy to give him to give him courage.

Distraction Can Work Wonders

Distract your child so that he is more interested in his own thing, as apposed to the thing he may be fearing, which in this case is simply taking a Santa Photo.

*Use finger puppets for him to play with while waiting in line.; Let him keep the finger puppet on his finger throughout the entire process of sitting on Santa's lap to taking the picture.

*If your child is a learning buff then take flash cards small enough for him to hold in his hands and work them with him as you are standing in line.; Try and keep it going even seconds before it's his turn to walk up to Santa for the picture.

*Don't take time to try and get that perfect pose, perfect clothes and perfect smile. Often times the unposed moments are the most memorable memories and the better photos. Plus, too much fiddling around will only get you closer to a teary eyed crying photo.

Mom, Dad, or Both

A friend of mine took her 2 kids (2 years old and 4 years old) to have their picture taken with Santa. This was the second time they had tried it and both kids were screaming their lil heads off in fear. My friend then had a thought that was actually a great memory for herself and her kids.  She, at 40 years old had her picture taken with Santa while her kids watched in line.  It didn't convince them to have their picture taken at that time but when she took the picture home, compared it to her Santa pictures when she was a young girl and shared it with her kids, they wanted to go back and have their pictures done as well. The next day she took them and she finally has her first kids' Santa picture that she has so patiently waited for.

A great idea for a good laugh, original idea with a happy ending, and most of all now her kids want to go everyday for their Santa picture!
Try it and let me know if it works for you and don't forget to post me the picture, and your story, so I can share it on my Blogs.
Parenting Education when dealing with fear.

I have seen many Santa photos with screaming, crying, hysterical kids and it actually upsets me. A child's fear should never be dismissed, laughed at or taken lightly, especially for something as trivial as a photo. Although as adults we know that there is nothing for them to fear, a child does not have this same notion. Just as a woman would be scared to death to walk into a room with a rapist and have no protection, a child experiences that same fear, and even worse, as young children do not have the knowledge of time, or procedure in which they can rely on for comfort. As adults, We know the picture only takes seconds but a young child does not know seconds and does not know the procedure of the moment of fear he is involved in. Parents should never lesson their child's trust in them by forcing them to carry through with fearful moments.

In the event you are standing in line with your child, or actually get to the front of the line, it's your child's turn and suddenly everything changes and your child begins to show fear at sitting on Santa's lap for the photo, parents need to respect their child's feelings and gracefully and graciously accept it, support the child and remove them from the fearful situation - in this case pass on the picture taking event for the time being.

When you and your child leave the line, do not show disgrace, agitation or disappointment in your child. This will only make your child feel bad about himself and make him feel as though he is not good enough for you. It will also add trauma to the situation of Santa picture taking and can easily delay his acceptance of it when he remembers how mom or dad were angry at him for being scared, he will shy away from the process all together. In a nutshell, where there was no bad experience with Santa taking pictures, if a parent behaves badly for the failure of it, this causes a bad memory for your child and causes him stress in the process. You are also lessening his trust in you by not supporting him when he needs you most, and adding to a lack of self esteem.

Instead, compliment your child on how long he stood in line and how he was almost able to do it. Show support, love and tenderness and let him know he can always try again next year or in a week or so if he chooses. Once at home parents can release their frustrations by screaming into their pillow if they wish. Toddler Fears and Solutions


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