• Anel van Dyk

5 Steps to make your Toddler smile at the camera

If you have any experience with toddlers you will know that asking them to do anything is just about impossible. And asking them to smile when you really want them to is like asking a unicorn to lick it's elbow.

Firstly you need to have very low expectations of the smiling event. It sound shocking but expecting them to do something they don't want to just creates stress and unhappiness for both you and them, instead follow these guidelines:

1. Only expect somewhat smiling faces on days they are truly happy. If they are sick or didn't sleep well or upset about even the slightest thing a smile is simply not going to happen.

2. Pick a time of day they are usually at their best. For my kiddies this is early in the day after breakfast (so anywhere between 05:30 and 09:00 - who needs alarm clocks right?). They are at their most boisterous after they have eaten and can focus on something other than a rumbling tummy.

3. Don't force them to look at you and smile. Have you met the stubbornness of a toddler? Once they know that you expect a smile from them they are on to you and will do everything possible to not give you what you want. Rather follow their lead.

4. Getting them engaged in an activity they enjoy is bound to get some smiles out of them. They will want to show off what they can do and this is the perfect moment to snap a few shots. This is also a wonderful way of spending time with them without actually having to be part of the mess. If they love painting, create a space where they can really get messy. The messier the better! If they want to paint your toes let them go crazy. The clean up will be one for the record books but the photos will be worth it.

5. Don't faff too much. Let them do their thing and move around them. Every now and them you can ask them to show you what they making and they might just show it with a teeth bearing smile.

You can always join in the fun and ask someone else to take a few snaps. There is nothing like kids getting free reign over their parents. If they can make you messy and sticky and covered in something that takes forever to wash off even better! They will love it, you will pretend to love it and have the best memories to look back on later.