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September 04, 2018

In an age that values instant gratification, looking ahead, and so much independence, we have to be intentional with our children to teach them the importance of slowing down, looking back, and learning about where they came from.

 

My mother Arlene and her big sister Betsy, posing with their Oma and her dog Meme


This summer, my kids and I put together a guide to interviewing our older relatives. Over at Blue House Joys, we're all about sparking imagination, creativity, and a love of learning in children, and this project fits perfectly with our mission. This activity was a big hit in our home and I hope it will be in yours as well.

 

Passing on The Legacy: A Kid's Guide to Interviewing Relatives - Legacy Leather Books

 

When I was in Junior High, we had a class assignment to interview a handful of relatives and make our very own LIFE magazine.  It turned out to be such a fun assignment! I learned many things about family members I’d been around my entire life that I never would have known without asking some intentional questions. Now I’m excited to pass down a similar assignment to the next generation.

Families come in all sizes and compositions, so it’s important to let your child take the lead in this activity. You may be surprised at who they consider to be family! They might like to interview a non-relative such as a teacher, neighbor, or other instrumental adult in their life.

This is just a guide to get your child thinking, so feel free to let them tweak it so that it works for them.

 

Four generations of strong women: Oma, granny Evelyn, mom Arlene, and myself as a baby


I’ve put together a free printable that your child can use as a guide while writing down possible questions and preparing the the interview. If they really enjoy it after the first round, print more copies and let them make a binder full of their interview notes.


Download the printable Interview Guide

 

 My mom with her oldest grandson Jackson

 

After giving it a try this summer, my kids and I found that it’s helpful to have something to record the audio and just use the printed guide for reading questions and jotting down short notes during the interview. When you try to write everything down in the moment, you often miss important pieces, and your interviewee does not feel quite as relaxed when you have your head down and are writing the entire time.

 

I let my kids borrow my phone and use the voice recording app when they did their interviews. This made it easy to go back and replay the interview to pick up all the details.

 

 

Our kids really got into the project and planned out some drinks and snacks that they knew their grandmother would enjoy. This helped them take ownership and get more excited about planning the interview ahead of time.

I hope that you will give it a try and that your child will enjoy this project. Once you see how much fun they're having, you may even want to tweak the idea a bit and do some interviews yourself!

I’ll leave you with a few questions you can ask your child to get them brainstorming.

  • Who would you like to interview?
  • Is there a special day when you'd like to conduct the interview? (Grandparents Day is September 9th!)
  • What are some questions you want to ask?
  • What are some interesting things about this person? Has there been a significant event in their life?
  • Where should the interview take place?
  • Could you find some old photographs to ask them to tell you about?
  • Can you think of a way to make your interviewee feel special? Is there a favorite treat that you could bring along for them?

Remember, there is no perfect way to do this, and the more fun you have with it the better. While reliving old memories, you'll be making new memories for your family to treasure in the future. 

 

Terri Steele of Blue House JoysTerri Steele is the creative mind behind Blue House Joys, a magical online shop with handmade supplies for your child's many quiet adventures. Find a wealth of imaginative ideas by following her on Instagram.



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