5 Questions Kids Should Ask Their Grandparents
Asking specific questions can get an interesting and valuable dialogue going between kids and their grandparents. It allows them to connect and learn essential information about their family tree and history. You never know what they’ll learn or what funny family story you can record for generations to come!
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How did we come to America? Did our family immigrate to America through Ellis Island or were we here before that?
Family tree information is essential and fascinating, and grandparents are one generation closer to the origins of the family. If your kids are blessed with great-grandparents, this is a great question for them too. Learning how you came to where you are gives kids a sense of the bigger world along with a sense of rootedness. Using online genealogy resources can supplement a grandparent’s personal memory and creating an official family tree is a great project for the two generations to work on together.
What are your favorite memories of your childhood? What was my mom or dad like when they were little?
Family tree info is important but so is learning the loves of childhood as it gives color to an otherwise staid topic. “I really enjoyed listening to my mom talk to my children about my own childhood. I also enjoyed when she discussed what life was like back then when she was a child,” shares Linda Broderick of MA, “It gave my kids perspective on how different life is from when she was young in the 1930’s and 1940’s. She also encouraged them to not have regrets and seize opportunities.”
Asking grandparents these specific questions starts a dialogue and allows kids of all ages from young to teens to connect with their grandparents on a level they don’t often think about. When you’re a kid, it’s hard to imagine that your grandparents were kids once too. Turns out they may have loved some of the same things when they were young.
Jobs / Career
What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you end up doing that? What was your first job?
Especially for older elementary school age kids and above, this can be a fascinating question to ask of grandparents as they ponder their own futures. It may open topics they never knew about their grandparents particularly their hopes and dreams for their future and what ended up happening. Asking what their first job was often garners funny and interesting stories whether it was working in a grocery store or on a farm. Getting this information out and in the family annals can be eye opening and valuable.
What big life decisions did you make and why?
This question allows kids to understand what their grandparents faced from education to marriage and more. It is a different take on more generalized questions like, “Tell me about your past, Grandpa.” Cheryl Tully Stoll from MA shares, “My grandson is 11 and soaks up everything like a sponge. I think decision making vs. letting things happen to you is important to learn when you’re young.”
Fun, Frivolous Information
Tell me something you did when you were young that was very naughty!
Kids love hearing stories like this as again it puts a human face on their grandparents and allows another avenue of connection and some really fun stories for generations to share. “My little granddaughter wants to hear over and over about when I was eight and locked my big brother in our chicken coop,” shares Claire Rosser of MD, “and how I ran away because I didn’t want to be there when he got out. We now call my brother for him to tell his side!”
While you have your kids engaging, here are 50+ Questions to Keep Them Talking.