The birthday interview

15 January 2020

We have a four year old in the house! Three was the sweetest of sweet ages (proof) and I am expectant to see what four has to offer. If it’s more of the same, that sounds great to me :)

Over the years, we’ve collected a few simple family birthday traditions — a balloon for each year at your chair, the birthday banner hung on the fireplace, and getting to choose your birthday dinner.

Last year, we introduced one more: the birthday interview!

This is not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination — Pinterest has a zillion free printables — though I originally got the idea not from Pinterest but from our friends the Henrys, who conduct a similar interview with their kids on Christmas Eve every year (continuing a tradition from Mackenzie’s family growing up!).

We keep it simple: I just type up and print out her answers and stick them in a binder. (When she’s older, I’ll have her write them!)

There is one twist we’ve initiated, though: we film her answering the questions! Her little voice arrests me with its cuteness daily, and I know one day I will be desperate to listen to what she used to sound like. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

When she turned three, we thought she’d be old enough to understand our questions and come up with an answer to them, and though she has indeed answered the questions both years, some of her answers are definitely… of dubious veracity, as least according to her revealed preferences. For example, this year she named grapes as her favorite fruit — even though we have grapes in our house about two times a year. I’ve been known to add commentary in parentheses to some of the more out-there answers :)

(For the record, I can sympathize: have you ever had the experience of being asked your favorite book, and literally not being able to think of a single book you’ve ever read?! What is a book???)

Eventually we’ll add Shep’s answers to the binder, too! Here are the questions we ask, if you’d like to try something similar:

Favorite color:
Favorite animal:
Favorite book:
Favorite thing to watch:
Favorite thing to wear:
Favorite game:
Favorite song:
Favorite breakfast:
Favorite snack:
Favorite fruit:
Favorite treat:
Favorite place to eat:
Favorite thing to do outside:
Favorite thing to do inside:
Favorite toy:
Favorite stuffed animal:
Favorite holiday:
Best friend:
I am really good at:
Where I want to go on vacation:
What I want to be when I grow up:
What we did on my birthday:

One last note: this is the type of thing that, if I had an eight year old and was hearing about it for the first time, might stress me out, being late to the party. Don’t do that. If you have an eight year old and want to start this, just start it! I promise she won’t care that you skipped years 3-7 :)

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January 15, 2020 9:49 am

We did this with Lachlan starting around age 2.5 / 3 (?) and the answers even now are so tender and heart-warming. I can’t wait to hear June’s answers should you share! And happy 4th birthday, sweet girl!

Kelly Strawberry
January 15, 2020 10:33 am

This video sounds so precious!! Absolutely love this idea and so glad you shared it :)

January 15, 2020 4:42 pm

So… I have an 8 year old (turning 9 next Tuesday) and I was literally beating myself up for not doing this earlier and then I read the last part and laughed out loud!

January 16, 2020 1:19 pm

We implement those birthday traditions, too! It was magical for me as a child to wake up and see that the house was transformed to celebrate my existence! My son still randomly talks about the balloons on his chair from 6 months ago, haha! It’s good to know we’re on the right celebration track :)