A while back, I was listening to this episode of the Bravewriter podcast, when the mother being interviewed mentioned a family tradition that sounded incredible. She took each child out to dinner the day before their birthday. Just the two of them. Additionally, she would ask the child the same questions each year. Her questions were inspired by a Russian movie about a girl named Anna who was asked the same 5 questions every year from her 6th to 18th birthdays.
First of all, it would never occur to me to take just one child to a restaurant. I have 4 kids and we almost never go out to eat except for special occasions. Even on special occasions, it’s not really that fun. We have FOUR kids and they are still relatively young. Most of our restaurant outings involve me trying to keep my bigger kids from fighting too loudly and my younger kids from throwing their food everywhere. To be able to sit and actually TALK to one of my children and focus all my attention on what they have to say? No interruptions? I don’t even have to cook? Mind. Blown.
Additionally, the idea of asking kids the same questions each year and documenting their responses is so intriguing. I ended up selecting a mix of the Russian director’s and Joules Evan’s questions (the mom from the podcast). My list encompasses the general idea behind both lists, I feel. They are fairly open-ended and right away you can see how the answers would change over the years. For example, my 6 year old’s biggest wish right now is to have a pet tiger. I can’t even imagine what she’ll wish for when she’s 16.
Additionally, I included a page of “favorites.” I’m hoping it will be fun to look back when my kids are olders and see how their favorites have changed as well.
So far, I’ve done this interview twice, once with my 8 year old and once with my 6 year old. My 8 year old and I had a great time going out to dinner by ourselves the night before his birthday. I honestly learned a few things about him that I didn’t know before. He is growing up so quickly. Take away the constant sibling bickering and all of a sudden, he’s a mature young man. We had so much fun, my husband decided to take him out to dinner a week after his birthday. They had a great time as well.
The plan didn’t go as smoothly with my 6 year old however. She didn’t want to go out to dinner, because she would “miss her dad and brothers too much.” So we made tacos at home and did the interview there. Even though she was not on board with the mom-and-me date, she enjoyed the interview immensely. I’m hoping next year she’ll be ready to have a girls night out with me.
- paper for printing birthday interview printable
Supplies & Tools:
- pen or pencil
- Print out the birthday interview.
- Find some quiet time to ask your child the questions on or around their birthday.
- Repeat the following years.
- Save the forms for many years to come!
This is totally optional, but I thought it would be cute if I had my kids write their own names on their form, so that I can see how their “signature” changes over the years.
Click here for more Homemade Fun ideas for kids.