20 Questions Grandparents Never Get Sick of Hearing
Last Updated: November 13, 2019
Grandparents Day provides an annual reminder that our aging family members have plenty of memories and wisdom to share.
Since a young age, I was always eager to hear any of my grandparents’ stories. I was thrilled to hear my grandfather talk about his Navy days on the U.S.S. West Virginia or training in Hawaii, before and during World War II. When he picked me up after school, I’d be thrilled to learn about his own experiences with school. He’d often tell me stories about how he had to walk miles to school in the Iowa snow after getting up at the crack of dawn to do chores on the farm. Later, as an adult, I realized just how precious those moments of sharing were.
What Questions Would I Want To Ask My Grandparents?
As Grandparents Day approaches, it reminds me about how much grandparents welcome the opportunity to share their experiences, guidance, and memories with us.1 Whether you’re looking for a conversation starter or an interview, asking the right questions is key to engaging in a memorable exchange with your elderly loved one. Taking the time to sit and chat with your grandparents can help them remember the good times in their lives. It can also help you learn about your family history. Use the below suggestions as a guide when thinking about the topics you may want to discuss. From their days as young children in school to their days as adults in the workforce and beyond, your grandparents likely have many intriguing tales to share with you.
What Questions To Ask Grandparents on Grandparents Day
If you aren’t sure where to start, consider these questions to ask grandparents. You may learn more about your family legacy this Grandparents Day.
Grab a cup of tea, and enjoy a walk down memory lane with these great questions:
- Did you go to college? What did you study? If you didn’t go to college, do you wish you had had the opportunity? What did you do instead?
- Did you have any pets growing up?
- Did you live in a house or an apartment? What was it like? What was your room like?
- What are the most difficult and most rewarding things about growing older?2
- What do you want your children and grandchildren to remember about you?
- What kinds of clothes, hobbies, or slang terms were popular when you were a teenager?
- What was your favorite thing about school? Least favorite? What were your friends like? Who was your favorite teacher, and what was your favorite subject?
- What was your first job? What was your favorite job?
- What’s your favorite book or movie, and why? What was your favorite when you were young?
- Who were your heroes or role models when you were young?
Good Examples of Questions To Ask Your Grandparents for Family History
Family history can be passed down from parents to children and should be cherished through stories. Times have certainly changed since your grandma or grandpa was a child, and it can be valuable to learn about environmental and social events that helped shape their life. Whether you want to ask open-ended questions or more direct questions, it can be fun to grab a notebook and record your grandparents’ answers as they navigate their memories and feelings. You can use these questions to dig deeper into the gold mine of your grandparents’ memories and also preserve the stories for future generations.
- What do you remember about your parents? Your grandparents?
- Do you know any stories about the history of the family name or the origins of the family?
- How many brothers and sisters do you have? What are their names? When were they born? What do you remember about them from growing up?
- How did you meet your spouse? How old were you when you met/got engaged/got married? What was the wedding like?
- What big world events were the most memorable while you were growing up?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- What were your children like when they were growing up?
- Where and when were you born? Did your parents ever share their memories with you about the day you were born?
- What were your favorite games and hobbies? Did you play any sports? What else did you do for fun?
- What life advice would you pass along to your grandchildren?
How To Ask Your Parents Questions About Your Grandparents
Another great way to learn about your family is to ask your parents about your grandparents. You can ask many of the questions above to your own parents to help strengthen your parent-child bond, as well as to learn new things that your grandparents may have forgotten. Asking your parents about their parents can also help you see both sides of a story — from your grandparents’ view and your parents’ view. Asking your relatives questions about themselves will help keep them healthy and vibrant.3 You can schedule one-on-one visits for a more intimate setting. Inviting uncles, aunts, and other family members will allow for a more festive get-together. Either way, your whole family is bound to benefit from these fun conversations.
The Legacy Project website offers a longer list of questions and a treasure trove of family activities that may be helpful. These activities range from art projects to guessing games to writing activities, which can help your grandparents recall and share their most beloved life stories.Not only can you learn a lot from your older relatives, but helping your grandparents remember their past is a type of reminiscence therapy, which has been shown to be important and beneficial to aging seniors.4
Grandparents Day serves as a reminder of how important it is to spend time with our older relatives, connect with our family heritage and create new memories to share and pass on to future generations.
Does your family celebrate Grandparents Day with any special activities? Share your Grandparents Day memories and suggestions in the comments below.
1Leaving A Legacy: Finding Meaning. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/leaving-a-legacy.
2Anderson, J. (2018, June 21). 10 Best Things About Growing Old. Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/best-things-about-growing-old-9-4-13/.
3Stevenson, S. (2019, June 17). 6 Reasons Why Visiting Loved Ones Keeps Seniors Happy and Young. Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-12-10-reasons-for-visiting-loved-ones/.
4Reminiscence therapy: Finding meaning in memories : Nursing2019. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/nursing/FullText/2013/04000/Reminiscence_therapy__Finding_meaning_in_memories.11.aspx.
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