February 24, 2011
The Birthday Interview
We started this family tradition when my oldest was 3 years old. On or around one of our children's birthdays, we sit them down on the couch and videotape a birthday interview. We ask them their name (because it's cute to hear them say their names when they're little) and how old they are and then ask questions about their life, such as favorite food, color, song, tv show, treat, toy, movie, doll, parent, etc . . .
We also have them do any of their signature tricks for that age, or try to get them to say their signature phrase, like my 3 year old christopher who's favorite thing to say at that time was "That's the deal, okay? Don't break the deal." We also talk about things that they have accomplished during the year, like potty training, moving to a big kids bed, or starting school. If they're learning to play an instrument, we have them play a song. There's also a fair amount of silly voices, face making, nonsense, and telling jokes.
We keep each child's interviews on a separate miniDV tape (that's the kind of tape our camcorder uses) and then we are able to watch all the child's interviews without anything else in between. We usually watch them after we've recorded the most recent one. The kids love seeing how they've grown and laughing at their silliness. And there is a lot of silliness.
It's not to late to start with your children! (well, if they're 20 it may be) It doesn't have to be long. Shorter in this case is better. It doesn't have to be right on their birthday. This year we didn't get Joshua's done until a month and a half later, but it still works. Just grab the camcorder and ask some questions. You'll be glad you did!
Here's a sample of interview bits from age 2 to age 6 of one of my sons. It's about 4 minutes long, but will give you an idea of how we do our interviews, and some of the questions we ask.