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Taking Holiday Pictures When Your Little One is Afraid

Get them to smile (or at least not cry) when meeting Santa and the Easter Bunny

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Not all holiday pictures turn out the way you want them to.

Not all holiday pictures turn out the way you want them to.

Tim Boyle/Staff/Getty Images

What's Christmas without a photo of your child with Santa Claus? Easter without a picture of the Easter Bunny? Holiday pictures are a wonderful way to preserve and remember precious moments from the holiday season. And that often includes waiting in line and sitting in the lap of the commercial face of the holiday while mom and dad take a holiday picture.

It's very common for little children to be scared of the person or character that grown-ups most want them to embrace. The Easter Bunny wears a big costume. Santa is an unfamiliar adult. And in most cases, there is usually a big hoopla surrounding the meeting -- a loud holiday display, lots of crowds, flashing bulbs and other (crying) children.

To help get the best holiday pictures, without causing your child to have a meltdown, try these tips:

  • Explain exactly what is going to happen. The more more information you can give to your child th better. Explain what is going to happen and why. "First you are going to sit next to Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas. Then I'm going to take a picture that we can show to grandma!" If she has any questions, be sure to answer them.
  • Use the wait to your advantage. If there is a long line to see Santa or the Easter Bunny, you might be tempted to come back another time. But letting your child see what the other kids are doing is a good idea. They can see what they are expected to do and figure out that it's really not too traumatic of an experience.
  • Be prepared to "say cheese" yourself. Your child might feel more comfortable if you join her up on Santa's lap. And that's fine and still makes for a nice holiday picture. You can either duck out at the last second or just stand next to the Easter Bunny and smile.
  • Know when to cut your losses. No matter what you do, some kids just don't want to pose for a holiday picture with someone -- or something -- they don't know. If she starts to panic or throw a temper tantrum, it might be best to remove her from the situation. You can always try again at a later date or next year when she's a bit older. If she starts to cry while she's sitting for the picture, take a quick photo and then rescue her.
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