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As the year 2014 draws to a close I start to reminisce about the past year.
All the things we have done with the kids, all the funny things that were said, the milestones that were reached, the surprises we encountered, the ups and downs that were part of our lives for the past 365 days. And it makes me realize, once again, that it is just impossible to remember everything that I want to remember.
Sometimes I wish I were a scrap-booking mom, or even the type of mom that actually has filled out and completed the really cute pregnancy memory books I purchased before my twins were born 5 years ago. I bet there are some great questions to answer in those books. But I wouldn’t know. I have yet to open them. Oops. At this point I am not even sure that I would remember enough about those days to even answer the questions!
Well for this year I have decided that I am not going to so willingly allow my memories of my kids childhood years to fade away, overcome by the quickness of life and reality. I wanted a very customized and fun way to look back on the past year. I remembered that I had seen a few different Birthday and/or First Day of School Interview Questionnaires on Pinterest last year that I had made a mental note of but had never successfully created.
I did attempt to do a interview questionnaire with my two kids last year, around their birthday, but they were four years old and really not all too interested in sitting and answering questions and they couldn’t provide an actual handwriting sample, so it didn’t work out too well. This year, at age five, it seems like the perfect year to start a new tradition of a year end questionnaire with my kids so we can create lasting memories.
Not only do I want to ask my kids the more typical questions (such as “what is your favorite color”), I want to ask them questions that they have to think about and that reflect our healthy, family-centered, and very often silly and off-kilter way of life. I am looking at this as a chance to stoke their imaginations, to make them really think about their answers, and to have fun while we do this.
As a parent, I see this as an opportunity and to learn some new (and more than likely unexpected) things from and about my kids!
We had a lot of fun working on these together. My son is not as developed with writing as my daughter, so he asked for some help when writing his name, age, height and weight; and that’s perfectly ok! I helped him as needed and then wrote in their answers myself for the rest of the questions so they wouldn’t have to worry about anything other than thinking and answering.
My son’s silliness took over, and since I was photographing everything as we went along for this post, all of a sudden his answers started involving a camera! And I had to laugh when he said his favorite place to go is the ice skating rink – we have never been to one before as a family and he has never worn ice skates.
I particularly loved my kids responses to, “What is the best part of being your age?” My daughter’s answer was, “We can help people and I can write things.” My son’s was “Meeting Santa.” This year was the first time in their lives they actually sat on his lap and had photos taken.
When asked what they would like to learn next year my daughter answered, “hHw to write words and read.” While my son answered, “How to make food and ornaments.” And when tasked with drawing a picture of themselves on the back of the questionnaire, my son (who is not as talented in the artistic area as my daughter is) asked if he could draw a map instead and said it was a map of how he answered his questions.
How can I not love how he marches to his own beat?
As I continue to look back over their answers tonight, it makes me realize yet again how different these two little people are. Even how they went about being part of this project was strikingly different: one very silly and fun-loving, the other very serious and thoughtful. They may be twins, but man oh man, they are totally different people. They each have their own strengths, weaknesses, character, and personalities.
I think the best part of doing something like this every year will be how we will all be able to look back together and read each child’s interview answers and talk about the changes that took place and how and where each child grew.
Once you have filled out the questionnaire with your child, you can choose how to preserve it; whether it’s in your scrapbook, laminated, in an art book, or just safely packed away. Do whatever works for you!
I am sure we are going to get some amazing memories out of these. There may be laughter, there may be love and warmth, and there may even be tears…but there will be feelings every year as we compare answers. Real feelings and real memories from our real answers and interactions with each other, and those are priceless.
I have created a printable of the exact Questionnaire I did with my kids, which you can access and print below. If you prefer to create your own from scratch…
Here are some sample questions you could add to your Year End Interview Questionnaire for Kids (beyond the typical what is your favorite color, your age, height, etc…):
- My favorite place to go / movie / TV show / drink / breakfast food is
- What is your favorite healthy food / outfit / game / holiday / season / school subject
- Who is your best friend / hero / favorite teacher
- Where would you like to go / what would you like to do next year?
Also think about, and incorporate some “interesting” questions into the mix, things that you are curious of how your kids will answer when asked. The whole point is to have fun and create everlasting memories.
I would highly suggest somehow incorporate getting a handwriting sample and having your younger kids write a few simple numbers on your questionnaire, as well as to draw a picture of themselves on the back of the sheet. As they get older, you may even just give them the sheet and allow them to go off by themselves to fill in their answers – I’d bet you will have some great surprises when you read them over after!