How I Get My Kid To Smile For Pictures

19 months.

Last Friday morning as Jack was enjoying his sliced banana and whole wheat French toast breakfast, he randomly picked up one of the morsels of bread and pretended it was a rocket ship: “Vvvvrrrooo…”.

In an attempt to capture that classic moment of toddler randomness, I grabbed my camera from the counter and stepped up to Jack.

Well, I missed him piloting his magical French toast morsel, but even better, Jack broke away from his fantasy world and smiled really big for the camera.

He knows what the camera is for now. In other words, he has broken the fourth wall in his human state of awareness.

I should point out, though, that Jack isn’t so much wanting to make exciting pictures for some potential audience.


He does this for his own entertainment.

Jack knows that as soon as I take an up-close picture of him, I will reward him by showing him the picture on the small screen on my camera. He gets to see the artwork.

I can imagine he is somewhat fascinated by the fact he is able to fit in that little box; the camera screen. And Elmo gets to travel with him.

It somehow reminds me of on the 1971 classic movie Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, when Mike Teevee gets shrunken into Wonkavision.

Fortunately, Jack doesn’t remain only a few inches tall when it’s all done.

Needless to say, when I was Jack’s age back in September 1982 eating my Cookie Crisp cereal with a banana in hand, there was no such thing as instant gratification when it came to taking pictures.

Even by the time I got to Junior High, a disposable camera was still only as instant as things really got.

Of course, Polaroids existed but my parents never got one because they said the quality of the pictures looked too cheap.

The real irony is that now people use Instagram to help make their pictures purposely look like Polaroids; instantly.

So if you’re having trouble getting your toddler to smile for the camera, try the instant reward system of showing your kid their picture from two seconds ago.

Be warned though; a common side effect may include a tad too much enthusiasm , as seen in the picture of Jack eating his French toast.


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