For centuries, we have long been obsessed as a society with portraiture and later, photography, a freeze frame moment in time that depicts the perfect family, the perfect backdrop, and the perfect split-second image.
Fast forward to 2017, where taking and sharing a photograph is more accessible than ever before. On one hand, this is great news. It means sharing photos everyday with family that might be far away, or maybe capturing the perfect moment of your favorite memory that you’ll keep forever because your iPhone camera is always in the right place at the right time.
But sometimes, the lengths that we go to in order to catch the perfect “first time down the slide,” “first time riding a horse,” or “first family photo in front of Cinderella’s castle” don’t always go the way we plan. As a Pediatrician, one of my biggest goals is to support all parents in a judgment-free zone where I can provide the best guidance possible for a happy and healthy life for my patients and their families.
So with that, I encourage you to document all the sweet memories possible, keeping in mind the following:
1. Safety First
Above all else, make sure that before even thinking about the photo, you think about your child’s safety. Although it sounds obvious, we get excited as parents and sometimes forget to do a “safety once over” before taking out the iPhone for a photo. This also goes for older kids who need constant “selfie safety” reminders. From a simple selfie, I’ve seen car crashes, bike crashes, broken bones, and even head lice. (Sorry we made you itch!) Make sure the environment around you is safe, your child is secure from falling in any way, and that you’re not in an area where there’s a potential safety hazard.
2. Think About The Outing First
Before going on a family outing, weigh all your options with health & safety at the top of your list. I took my daughter almost a year ago to her first Marlins baseball game, she was 2 at the time. My wife and I thought it would be so cute to dress her in a cute baseball jersey and baseball hat, teach her about the players, and of course get some great family pictures in the stands. Low and behold, after a nearly 90 minute drive to the stadium, she ditched her nap, and we spent the next 2 hours with a miserable, overtired, baseball-hater. I know we’ve all been there as parents. What can we learn? Think about the outing first; if it’s not 100% necessary and doesn’t seem conducive to your child’s schedule, it may not go as well as you planned. Keep snacks on hand, plan long drives around nap time, and try your best to keep a “go with the flow” outlook!
3. Enjoy the Moment First, Capture it if there’s Time
The quality time and memories you make with your children will not only stay with you, but with your children as well. You want your child’s memories and experiences to be sharing in the moment with you, not an iPhone camera constantly in their face. Enjoy the little moments (and big ones, too). If there’s enough time to snap a photo while enjoying the moment, great. If not, put your phone down and enjoy the view. You’ll never regret the moments that are so good, you forgot to capture them.