Conversation Starters for Meaningful Conversations with Your GrandkidsDecember 15, 2019
With the fast-changing pace of technology, the generation gap may seem wider than ever. And many families today live scattered across the country or even the globe, making it harder to get to know one another. But having meaningful conversations with your grandchildren helps to bridge that gap and to deepen the relationship across the generations. Here are some helpful tips on how to start those meaningful conversations.
The key to getting more than one-word answers from the younger generation—such as yes, no or Okay—is to ask open-ended questions or hypothetical questions. Don’t be judgmental about their answers and keep the conversations fun, even turning it into a game. There are lots of resources, games and books that can help you:
Open-ended and Hypothetical Questions
Open-ended questions are key to meaningful conversations because they cannot be answered with one-word answers. Beginning with who, what, why and how, open-ended questions encourage imagination and creativity. Asking open-ended questions shows a child that you value their opinions, ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Know your grandchild’s interests so you can tailor your questions to what they enjoy. Examples of open-ended questions include:
- What’s your favorite part of the day at school and why?
- What’s your least favorite part of the day at school and why?
- What’s the best present you’ve ever received? The worst?
- What’s the grossest food you’ve ever eaten? The most delicious?
- What are you really good at doing? Will you show it to me?
- What’s the best place you’ve gone on vacation?
Hypothetical questions are a specific type of open-ended question and yield the same result for starting up interesting conversations and learning more about your grandchild. Examples of hypothetical questions include:
- If you could have any superpower, what would you want to have and why?
- What would you do with your superpower?
- If your pets could talk, what do you think they would say?
- If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
- If you were an astronaut and could fly anywhere in the Universe, where would you go?
For more examples, here are 9 Conversation Starters With Your Kids (or Grandkids).
Make it a Game
By playing games, we can let down our guard and allow people to get to know us in a new way. Your grandchildren are more likely to participate if it’s something fun to do, whether it’s around the dinner table, on a road trip, or during a visit to grandma’s house. Here are some games that encourage conversation and fun:
- TABLETOPICS Family: Questions to Start Great Conversations is a 4-inch acrylic cube with 135 questions specially designed to engage children in conversation.
- OUR MOMENTS Generations: Conversation Starters for Great Relationships is a fun card questions game that includes 100 thought provoking conversation starters for grandparent-grandchild relationship building.
- 101 Conversation Starters for Families are handy conversation cards by Marriage and family experts Gary Chapman author of The 5 Love Languages and Ramon Presson.
- Grandparent Talk Card Game is a fun, portable, conversation game designed to connect grandparents with the younger generation with 100 conversation cards. Pick a card, ask the question and uncover surprising family stories.
- Play the “Would You Rather” game in which each family member takes turns asking questions, such as “Would you rather travel into the past to meet your ancestors, or travel into the future to meet your grandchildren?” You can get great questions from the official Would You Rather
For more tips on talking to your grandchildren, Kim Chamberlin’s book Conversation Starters for Every Grandparent is an essential guide. Chamberlin includes suggestions on how to use the starters and provides 1000 questions and conversation starters.