Deciding how much of our kids to share on social media

We protect them, but we can’t be full without them. So how do we navigate sharing our kids on social media and in our businesses? 

A lovely Instagram connection shared one of my posts to her IG Stories yesterday and the caption made me chuckle. 

She said “Follow Erin Trafford for the general General Female Biz Owner Badassery and stay for behind the scenes’ of my two daughters. 

I know that when I share something from my preschooler or my baby that my audience (on Instagram) lights up. 

My kids are adorable, precocious and I am, most definitely, NOT an ‘Insta’ Mom, (in the sense that I don’t dress them alike, I don’t clean up and hang balloons for kiddie photo shoots and I don’t filter all my photos with Sepia-light.) 

But I also had a very considered question in my direct messages yesterday about just this thing. 

How much to share about our kids? Online? In Business? How do I decide where to draw the line? 

What and Why to Share your Kids on Instagram and on your Blog

It’s a question I’m asked quite a bit – second only to ‘how do I know what to share at all?’ or maybe ‘how much of my personal life do I share on my business account?’ 

So today, I’ll share some of the ways I have made decisions about what to share of my children and why

Let’s start with the WHY share your kids question first. 

The short answer is – you don’t have to share about your kids at all. 

But if you do, you’d do it to deepen your relationship with both YOUR KIDS and your AUDIENCE. 

For example, when I used to host the morning show – I didn’t have kids then, but the anchors who did would often talk about their kids or celebrate their accomplishments on the air. 

It establishes a back story for the audience that is relatable. It paints a very human picture because having kids and the things kids do are things that almost every human being can understand on an emotional level. 

Creating an emotional connection is the key to building rapport in the online space. Stories are the number one most effective way to do that. And Stories about kids are a bit of a fast track. 

But I said it needs to deepen your relationship with BOTH your kids and your Audience- so what does that mean? 

It means that, at least in my opinion, if you are forcing your kid to be perfect or picture-ready all the time – that’s just not fun and you should probably stop and put away the phone. 

If you are going on day trips and even part of you is thinking about the Instagram caption before you get there – you should probably leave your phone in the car. 

But if you come at it from a fun project or bonding experience with your kids, then it might energetically feel better for you. 

Case in point – when my daughter and I did a little pre-taped video for a client at Christmas we had a total blast. We shared the behind the scenes on Instagram and I let her ‘direct’ the overall video we submitted. I treated her like a CREATOR of our combined success. And it was fabulous. 

In fact, she said something super hilarious on camera that day that is now a running joke in our house. 

Just last weekend, we did a rainy day project making Beeswax Food Wraps. It’s a search that has great blog potential for DIY Passion and I knew I wanted to write about it there – so I specifically asked her if we could ‘do some photos and videos’ of our craft. 

It was deliberate. And she was involved in deciding to do the craft and create the content. 

The other reason to share your kids is if they had a direct impact on the trajectory of your business. 

(I want to say life, but I know precisely 0 people who haven’t had a total life shift after having kids). 

For me, in particular, we struggled for a long time with staying pregnant. My journey with miscarriage was very public. (Maybe one day, I’ll write about what happened to me as I was scrumming with the Premier about changes to Nova Scotia Power right before a provincial election campaign.) 

So, my first daughter was very integral to the story of my blog – DIY Passion. She was part of its success. My readers were invested in my journey and in her arrival. And so were my corporate sponsors at the time. 

*I’m putting an asterisk here because I’m going to come back to this fact when we get into the what to share of your kids. 

Then, when I think about my new baby – who turns one this month – I shared about her because, well, I almost died giving birth. And because I was SO pregnant while hosting group programs, doing paid national media and all those things – that I couldn’t hide it. 

But in truth, I share a lot less of her because, as harsh as this sounds, she doesn’t really have as much to do with my business at this point. 

I share her to surprise and delight my audience and clients when it feels right to me. 

So now let’s get into the WHAT and WHAT NOT to share of your kids. 

Again, this is entirely a personal decision. Some people, clients of mine, have extremely valid safety reasons for not sharing anything of their kids on social media. If that’s the case, then you need to go with your gut. 

But here are some general rules we follow in our house when it comes to sharing. 

No bathroom or potty photos. 

I feel like this goes without saying – but I remember doing an influencer campaign a few years back and I was appalled at some of the content submissions of kids sitting on toilets and captions poking fun at them. 

Our kids will grow up. 

This will come back to bite the proverbial ass. 

Just don’t do that. 

If you wouldn’t want someone sharing a pic of you on the can, then don’t do that to your children, k? 

No photos or videos of them experiencing extreme emotions. 

Full disclosure: I violated this twice before deciding it was a rule I would never break again. 

I shared a video of my then two-year old daughter absolutely distraught while watching The Little Mermaid for the first time. She was shaking with sadness about Ariel not having legs. 

Her big emotions were adorable and it was timely because it was the same week Disney Plus was made available in Canada – so a lot of Millennials were reliving their Disney addictions with their kids. 

I feel badly for sharing that now – because she didn’t need a camera in her face. She needed me to be there with her in those emotions. 

I also once shared a photo of her melting down because I vacuumed up a Goldfish cracker. 

I know. 

*I’ll wait here while you have a chuckle*

It IS hilarious. And the even funnier part was the vacuum company is my client. So I shared the photo and it resonated with A LOT of Moms of toddlers who love Goldfish. 

But my daughter was distressed and, again, having big emotions. It wasn’t my job to snap a photo for recall. It was my job to be there for her in that moment. 

So now, it’s a rule for us that we share the messy middle but not the extremes. 

If one of our kids is in total meltdown, that’s the priority. We can share the aftermath if that fits. 

If one of our kids is having a total moment of bliss? No phones. No cameras (at least not for sharing). We get present and experience it with them.

I have a whole camera album full of photos of my kids experiencing joy that I don’t think I’ll ever share publicly. It’s not mine to share. 

How I approach sharing my kids now

Since I’m pulling away from daily use and dependency on Instagram, I’ve reevaluated a few things with respect to my girls and how much they are on my social media and website. (Instead of Instagram, I’m leaning into some new forms of content sharing, like blogging, Pinterest and video!)

I recently removed every picture of my eldest daughter from my lifestyle blog. I had to pay someone a lot of money to do it because it was such a big task – but I realized I didn’t want her on that site permanently anymore. 

I now only share the kids on the weekends on Instagram. Why? Because Monday to Friday, I’m ‘in the office’ and so is my content. I share what’s actually happening in reality … which means weekends are kid times. 

The Rest of the Story is a project of love and commitment to showing up on this site every day for 90 days; sharing honest opinions, thoughts and observations. Comments are welcome.

Erin Trafford Incorporated is located on sacred land that has been the site of human activity for over 12,000 years. We are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People, and we acknowledge them as the past, present, and future caretakers of this  land.

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