Questions To Ask Your Grandparents To Get To Know Them Better   


The previous generation has many gifts to pass along to the next, whether it be skills, stories or the general wisdom of living a full life. Their experiences are our bridge to the past, carrying a rich tapestry of family history that may otherwise be inaccessible. This wealth of knowledge can profoundly impact our understanding of who we are, where we come from, and even where we’re going. 

Knowing your grandparents better is a beautiful way to connect with your family history and gain insights into their life experiences. Our most powerful tool in this quest for knowledge is asking questions. 

Keep reading to learn some effective strategies for active listening, and dig into an array of thought-provoking questions and conversation-starters that may be useful in your journey of discovery. 

Practice Active Listening 

An essential first step to any meaningful conversation is to learn what it means to listen actively. 

Active listening involves hearing the words someone is saying and fully understanding their message, showing empathy and demonstrating that you are thoroughly engaged in the conversation. 

If you’re looking for ways to be a more active listener with your grandparents, follow these tips: 

Give your full attention. 

When someone else is speaking, give them your full attention. Turn off distractions like cellphones, televisions or loud music to ensure you are dedicating your total concentration to the conversation at hand. 

Utilize proper body language. 

Ensure you maintain eye contact with the speaker and utilize non-verbal cues like nodding, smiling and gesturing to display that you are listening. 

Positive body language encourages the speaker to continue, so if you feel the speaker is losing confidence in the conversation, try gesturing for them to continue. 

Avoid interruptions.  

While you may want to jump in with a point of your own, it’s essential to wait for the speaker to finish their thought before interjecting yours, especially when speaking to older individuals who may not have the pacing or reaction time they once had. 

It can be challenging for some to remain focused while articulating their thoughts, so approach these conversations patiently. 

Manage your emotions. 

Try empathizing with the speaker’s feelings and emotions without imposing your own. Put yourself in their shoes and acknowledge their experiences without judgment while avoiding reactive responses to what is being said. 

Reflect back. 

Repeating or paraphrasing the words you’ve just heard is a great way to indicate to the speaker that you are paying attention to what they’re saying. Confirm your understanding regularly using phrases like “What I hear you saying is…” or “It sounds like you’re feeling…” 

Questions and Conversation-Starters. 

Finding the right words when you want to ask someone essential questions is a universal challenge. Striking a balance between curiosity and respect can be tricky, but even imperfect words can lead to profound and meaningful connections.

Below, we’ll review some categorized questions you can ask your grandparents to help facilitate significant conversations and build a stronger connection. 

Family and Relationships. 

  • What is the earliest childhood memory you have from growing up? 
  • What was your relationship like with your parents? If you had siblings, what was your relationship like with them? 
  • What’s your biggest life lesson to pass down to younger generations? 
  • Can you tell me the story of your name, our family name and their significance? 

Hobbies and Skills.

  • What are your favourite childhood recipes or dishes that you’d love to see us recreate? 
  • What was your number one pastime as a child? What about as a teenager? 
  • What was your favourite subject in school, and what subject did you struggle the most with? 
  • Where is the most exciting place you’ve travelled to in your life? 

History and Memories. 

  • What is the earliest childhood memory you have from growing up? 
  • Were there any significant historical events during your lifetime that you vividly remember being a part of? 
  • What was the most meaningful technological change you witnessed in your lifetime? 
  • What were your favourite books, films and songs growing up? 

Traditions and Customs. 

  • Are there any stories about your parents or grandparents that they passed down to you? 
  • Have you kept any photographs or diaries you’d like to share? 
  • Did your family participate in any customs or traditions growing up that you would love to see revamped? 
  • Do you have any keepsakes or mementoes from people in your past that mean a lot to you? 


  • What were your dreams and aspirations when you were my age, and how did they contribute to the path you ended up taking? 
  • What is your proudest achievement or accomplishment to date? 
  • What was your most challenging obstacle, and how did you overcome it? 
  • What has been the most fulfilling aspect of being a parent and a grandparent?  

These questions can be a great starting point to help you delve into your grandparents’ personal histories, gaining insights into their experiences, values, and the context of the times in which they lived. 


Our grandparents’ memories are often the only roadmap we have to our families’ pasts, so taking advantage of their time with us and asking questions to learn about their experiences is essential. 

When having these conversations, remember to approach your grandparent with active listening, empathy and curiosity, and ensure you create a space where they feel comfortable sharing their stories and memories. 

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