Unlike baby models, there are some strict rules for contracting children aged three or older. These rules regulate permitted working hours and required breaks as well as the conditions under which a child is allowed to take up a modelling job. The demand for child models in catalogues or advertisements is constantly growing. It can be a tough question to answer for parents whether they should let their child become a model. If you are undecided, it might help to check out reports about other parents’ experiences online. If you decide that you would like your kid to have a modelling career, we have some valuable tips for you about photo sessions and how to deal with certain issues.
With the rise of social media, the possibilities for self-promotion have grown significantly. For models, this mainly means that instagram and similar platforms can be valuable for advertising their own pictures. While many successful models like Lena Gercke, Heidi Klum or Cara Delevingne are very active on social media, that is a little different for child models. We would strongly advise you to manage your child’s instagram profile with extreme care. Make sure you research any profile or agency that requests the rights for a picture or wants to book your child for a modelling assignment. That way, you can be sure that you are dealing with a reputable organisation.
Before the Photo Session
Less is often more when it comes to baby models, and that is true for child models as well. On the morning of the photo shoot, make sure that your child takes a shower and wears a fashionable outfit. This will help prepare your child for the session as your kid will notice that the routine and clothing is different from every other day. However, don’t use hair gel or other styling products as stylists will determine the final look on site. Nevertheless, you should always ask your child for his or her opinion to make sure that your kid enjoys modelling. Pro tip: bring your child’s favorite toyto keep your child entertained and in a good mood.
When you arrive on set, you should first take care of your child and make sure that he or she is doing well. Next, it is helpful to talk to the photographer and the creative director to find out more about the schedule to get a sense of how intense the session is going to be and how long it is going to take. Always stay on set to support your child and watch their behaviour. If your child starts to get fidgety, it is better to pause the session and continue on another day, no matter what the photographer says. Of course, the same goes for you if you are unhappy with the approach or the outfit. While you should talk to the stylist about any issues with the outfit in a respectful and constructive way, the photographer is the right person to talk to when it comes to treatment or the procedure.
This is often a very controversial topic, but it is still an important aspect for child models, too. It is important to note that a healthy diet has many benefits, as it reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and obesity later in life. This shows that it is not only a good idea to provide healthy meals for your child before a photo session but you should make sure that your child is always healthy. This includes a balanced diet, enough sleep and, of course, exercise. However, this doesn’t mean that you ban all sorts of food as we know it from diets for adults. That’s not a reasonable approach for any age group; there is no problem with having cake, pizza or sweets, as long as you enjoy them in moderation.
Modelling is only a good idea if your child can still attend school. It may be a positive or negative experience, but photo sessions and assignments are always an additional stress factor for your child. As parents, you have to be able to tell if your kid shows signs of being stressed, and it is always a good idea to talk about the situation. Never neglect school work in favour of a photo session. The modelling industry is known for its fast-paced and unsteady nature, so an education is still essential to guarantee a reliable future for your child. Of course, it is also important to take your kid’s wishes into account, but at a young age, children aren’t able to make long-term decisions regarding their education yet.
Nowadays, there is a huge variety of activities for kids - from soccer to ballet and chess - everything is possible. Although every additional engagement and every additional training is going to cause more stress for your child, the main consideration should be whether your kid enjoys the activity. This is why it is very important to ask your kid regularly for his or her opinion. Unfortunately, it has become a trend among parents to add more and more extra appointments to their children’s schedules without leaving any time to play. Of course, many parents would love their kid to become the next Mozart, but some children simply don’t enjoy playing an instrument. And children can only develop their individual personality when you leave them enough freedom to be creative. Always carefully consider how much you expect from your child, and learn to evaluate how important modelling is going to be at the different stages of your kid’s life.
An additional source of stress for yourself is going to be the number of forms you will have to fill out in order to allow your child over the age of three to work as a model. Among others, there is the explicit parental consent in writing and documentation from the school, local children services and your pediatrician. That means that external institutions will also deal with the question of whether the consequences of being a model are good or bad for your child. Officials will assess your child individually, which is a requirement for contracting a child as a model. It is also important to know that every country and state might have their own additional forms regarding this kind of assignment which you can usually find on their respective websites of the respective state.
All in all, the procedure is very similar for baby and child models in all the aspects mentioned above. The main difference lies in the distinct legal requirements that you should take care of at an early stage. During this bureaucratic process, your child will be assessed for their mental and physical ability to be a model. But take your time to do your own research about youth employment protection and child employment regulations in your country to be fully prepared.