Becoming an older sibling isn’t an easy adjustment. This is why I am super go-with-the-flow with big siblings during newborn sessions. I encourage them to take sibling photos with their baby, but give lots of breaks. We really only need at least a few seconds of cooperation here and there to snap away and get the photos.
Set expectations for sibling photos
A few days before the photo sessions, start talking to your children about the session. Let them know that we will take photos of the whole family and sibling photos of them with their new baby, but they can take breaks if they need to. Try to make it sound like a fun experience. Let them know how excited you are to have photos of them being a great big sister or brother.
I am a big believer in setting expectations and giving positive reinforcement for meeting those expectations. Let your children know that if they take sibling photos with their baby, they can ____. This is where you fill in what they are earning. This could be a special treat, a toy, a show, time alone with mom/dad, etc. You know your children best and know what will motivate them. You can start doing this in small amounts days before the session. Give lots of praise or a small treat for letting you take a photo of them with the baby.
The day of the session, I will do my best to get a sibling photo, but sometimes we need to be a little creative and flexible about how we do this. We may not get a photo of your older children holding the baby. I always want to make sure babies are safe, so I am not going to force a sibling to hold a baby. We can do things like have them lay down on their back with the baby or sit behind the baby. Sometimes just getting close to the baby is all we can get. It can be frustrating when you really want a specific photo and an older sibling isn’t cooperating, but being flexible and staying relaxed gives you the best chance of getting those photos. I really just need a few seconds of the siblings together to get the photo. I often find that if we move on to something else and give older siblings a little time without the focus on them, they will come back and be ready to get in more photos.
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