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© Gail Underwood Parker

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Parenting Tips: Student Interviews [Year Folders]

On Monday I talked about helping your child transform their mountain of accumulated papers from the school year into a simple folder representing their year. I promised other ideas for enhancing that folder with memories of the that year in your child's life. By doing these once a year, you can have a lifelong "scrapbook" of their lives in simple folders. Here are my five top ideas:

1. Make a handprint/Trace their hand: 
Nothing fancy. Just trace it or print it AND be SURE to put name and date on it. Add height and weight if you like.  [Later if you are crafty these can be turned into a quilt by using each hand print to make a quilt block pattern, or each one can be copied and made into a book for their children to compare against each year. ]

2. Add 4-5 photos:  
Most families take lots of phone/camera pics that languish on SD cards or in computer folders.  Pick several that feature the child to keep in the folder and represent that school year/age.  
       a. holiday picture of child 
       b. picture of child doing a favorite activity  [sports, playing a game, even reading or watching tv]
       c. child with a favorite friend 
       d. child with favorite toy/object
       e. child with pet
       f. whole family
       g. child and accomplishment [certificate, ribbon, recital, playoff, skill]
h. anything unusual [chicken pox, broken arm, mumps]

3."Interview" your child: You may be able to do it without them, but you will have more fun if you make this part of a you and your child lunch event. Use the same basic questions/categories each year so that later when they look back they [and their future children!] can see the ages and stages they went through. Ideas:
     a. What was the most fun you had this year?
     b. What was the hardest thing you did this year?
     c. Who are your best friends this year?
     d. What is your favorite thing to do indoors?
     e. What is your favorite thing to do outdoors?
     f. What skill or activity did you learn to do this year?  [or get better at this year]
     g. If you could meet any famous person you chose, who would you like to meet?
     j. What is your least favorite thing about yourself?  [If you could change/improve one thing?]
     i. If you could meet and talk to any famous person you chose, who would you like to get to know?
     j. Who do you hope to be when you grow up?

4. Make a recording of your child: If you also record your child's voice you and they [and maybe their children] will also have the fun later of hearing your child's voice change as they get older. Always start with their name and the date that you are making the recording! They can sing a song, recite the ABC's or as they are older you can record the "interview." [Remember to still always write down or type the answers and stick the pages in the folder.] Just be sure that you keep up with the technology or you will have the equivalent of an 8-track recording tape in an MP3 world.  Transfer the recordings to new technology as it develops, while you still can. 

5. Make an evolutionary "chart" of your child.  
Take a photo of them "growing" by taking a picture each year  in front of a standard room door or front door, showing the doorknob in the photo.  Unlike trees or bushes, doors are a standard height so will show the growth year after year. If you have the child hold a sign with the date, grade [or at least the year] each time, it can make a more fun display later.

Image credits:,,,, aclaimimages.con


  1. I have a folder, and every Christmas all the grandkids add their handprint and footprint. The folder is a reminder of how much they've grown... the kids love looking at their "small" feet and hands. Lots of family fun.

  2. Great idea! May I share that at my workshops? I do handprints each year for quilts, booklets, etc. but have not done footprints. Do you trace them or print them?