"We'd like to tryyy to get our toddler in photos too."

I read pretty close to this exact sentence from so many parents leading up to a newborn portrait session with a toddler sibling. Take a deep breath. Pack some bribes and it won't be as bad as you think.

Your toddler's world was just rocked. You likely left them for a few days to deliver and when you came home, you had some loud, attention hogging, itty bitty extra fragile luggage with you. There are a few simple tricks that can help bring everyone's anxiety down so you can relax and enjoy our time together.

1) Attention. I usually let the older sibling run the show for a bit. A happy toddler makes for a relaxed parent. Like when you realize that your shoulders aren't as tense, and you can breathe a somewhat sigh of relief. Let them interact with you and the new baby as much or as little as they'd like. Some toddlers love to give me a tour of their room, tell me about their favorite snack, or about their favorite show or movie and I love to hear it! It gives me new ideas for my kids!

2) Bribes. I will never be above a good bribe. Nothing needs to be extravagant. I'm talking the Halloween candy size M&Ms packet for after, keyword is after, the session. If you're kids are anything like mine, they will end up with not only chocolate faces but chocolate on their shirt, pants, sock - because why not, that was JUST washed and kept clean for days leading up to this. This is where I remind you to pack extra outfits just in case.

3) Too many cooks in the kitchen. I know it is so tempting to tell your child(ren) to smile and say cheese. Then your partner does the same. Next, I'm asking them a question or suggesting that they snuggle up with Mom or Dad. That's a lot. Do your best to go with the flow. Those in between moments where you're showing the baby to your toddler, pointing out their little fingers or toes, those are the moments that are the beautiful photographs.

4) Prepare. Let them know I am coming. Your home might be a revolving door of friends and family coming in and out. Most of my little friends call me Ms. Laura but you can tell them whatever you'd like. Ms. Laura, Laura, the lady taking our pictures, my friend Laura - it's all fair game. Let them know that they can help. I always love to have a good helper.

5) Fashion Show. Try their outfits on beforehand. You don't want to get everyone dressed and then five minutes before I get to your home be hearing about how the tag is itchy, the dress is too scratchy, they don't like the color of the shorts, or the headband is wrong.