For all the birthdays we have a special session with our children. While throughout the year we tend to take many many pictures, the birthday ones are always more special. Now our daughter is at a great age to have her picture taken. Old enough to follow instructions and her attention span lasts about an hour or so 🙂
Keeping it light and doing a lot of different locations / poses helps to keep children involved. And don’t use the old “smile nicely” nonsense. Ever tried to look in the mirror and smile nicely? Exactly. Do something that is fun with your kids and the smiling will come all by itself.
Playgrounds are always great – have them burn some of their energy along the way.