How to use photos to help boost your child’s confidence, you ask? The answer is quite simple. Print and then display your child’s and family photos around the house.
You have a million photos….on your phone. Or, you hired a professional photographer to take photos of your family. Now what? Digital files or prints?? Have you ever stopped to think about the effect that actual printed photos have on children? Turns out, it means a great deal to them!
Photographers and child psychiatrists are on the same page about having photos in the home.
– London-based photographer Inna Yurchuk-Kostukovsky says based on research that “Growing up in the space where they see themselves in photos, surrounded by their loved ones, helps them learn who they are and where they fit.”
Inna also says, “They understand the story of their family and grow up with a stronger sense of belonging.” She also explains how the process of flipping through the pages of an album stimulates the brain and encourages engagement. “Photos are also miraculous windows into the past — [the] strangeness of seeing parents once young, or great-grandparents in uniform will make kids curious about their heritage.”
What an amazing opportunity for connection!
You can read the rest of Inna’s insightful article on Medium here.: “Science proves that displaying family photos boosts children’s self-esteem.”
– A revealing study was conducted in 1975 with a group of fourth graders at a Tennessee school by Tulane University. During a five week period, the children took Polaroid instant photos of themselves with provided cameras in a variety of assigned poses, compositions and expressing various emotions. The children worked with the printed images of themselves and created scrapbooks once a week over those five weeks. Testing of the students and teachers at the conclusion of study revealed a significant increase of 37 percent in the students’ average self-esteem behaviors. This study shows some evidence personal photography of children seen and enjoyed in a specific way can help boost a child’s self-esteem.
– Stephanie Marston, a renowned child therapist, encourages families to display two photos of a child next to the child’s bed. One photo should showcase the child engaged in an activity that brings them joy. A cherished family moment highlighting the family’s togetherness should be the focus of the second photo.
“Research has shown the 30-minute time period just before bed is when children are more receptive and listen and absorb more than any other time. Put photos of your kids being capable and loved next to their beds,” she says,”and these positive images are likely the last thing they see before they sleep and the first thing they see when they awaken.”
– The book, “Photo Therapy and Mental Health” co-authored by Dr. David Krauss and Jerry Fryrear, is considered a founding text for the use of photography in therapy. Dr. Krauss strongly advocates for having family photos displayed in a gallery within the home. This shows children that they are important to this family.
David Krauss, a licensed psychologist from Cleveland, Ohio says, “I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to create and make the image look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level.”
Obviously, rather than print and display family photographs, families are increasingly enjoying their images in a digital form. This can be a mobile device, a laptop, or simply on social media. But does an image on a tablet, computer screen or social media site have the same impact?
When asked if digital photos have the same impact as printed photos, Dr. Krauss said: ” My bias is very simple. I think they should be on the wall. I am very conservative about self-esteem and I think placing a family photo someplace in the home where the child can see it every day without having to turn on a device or click around on a computer to find it really hits home for that child this sense of reassurance and comfort. They have a certainty about them and a protecting quality that nurtures a child. It let’s them know where they are in the pecking order and that they are loved and cared for.”
Additionally, just like Marston, Krauss also recommends having photographs of that child with their family placed in the child’s bedroom. That way it can be among the last things they see before sleep and the first thing they may see before beginning their day. “It says we love you and care about you. You’re important.”
The importance of printed photographs displayed in your living space was echoed by other experts.
– “My personal and clinical bias is there is something very powerful in touching your fingers to an actual print,” says Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist who works with children ages five through 13 near Eugene, Oregon. “Touching the photograph where a face is smiling or the shoulders, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it. There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse or a touchscreen but you are not touching the image.”
– “Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced,“ says Cathy Lander-Goldberg, a licensed clinical social worker and a professional photographer in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the director of Photo Explorations, which offers workshops to girls and women using portrait and journaling for self-reflection.
It might feel like a chore to get your photos printed and hung on the wall, but what an incredible benefit this could be to the loved ones in your household! It’s really not hard at all! The hardest part will be just making yourself do it. Set aside some time this week to print a couple of photos, and observe the reaction in your children. You’ll be so glad you did!
If you’d like to find out more about the family photo experiences and amazing wall art products I offer, please click here to look around the website.
Now you know how to use photos to help boost your child’s confidence. Therefore, go and do it.
I am a Family Photographer in Asheville, NC specializing in photographing families as they grow and change. My areas of expertise are maternity photography, newborn photography, family and children photography.