four generations of women family members and a female right at home caregiver four generations of women family members and a female right at home caregiver

Connecting Generations: Tips for Forging Intergenerational Relationships Through Meaningful Conversations

Grandparents are usually remembered for spoiling their grandchildren with special treats, gifts, and an abundance of love, but often, their grandchildren don’t really know much about their past or the things they have done throughout their lives. In recognition of Grandparents Day on September 10, why not start a meaningful conversation to help the younger generation get to know the older generation better? Not only will the conversation allow grandparents to pass along memories, but it is also a way to preserve family history. Here are some tips to get the conversation started.

When To Get the Conversation Started

When is a good time to start a conversation? Anytime opportunity strikes is a good time. Family gatherings offer an excellent chance for grandparents to share memories. Perhaps you and your kids are driving with them or sharing a dinner out—if so, take advantage of the opportunity!

How To Get the Conversation Started

Young children may need a little prompting. You could start the discussion by asking your child a question to get the ball rolling. For example, “Did you know your grandpa used to be a Navy sailor?” It may prompt the question, “Grandpa, what was it like being a sailor?” You also could begin the conversation by saying, “Dad, tell little Joey about your time in the Navy and the great places you visited.”

What Questions To Ask

Talking with grandparents is a great opportunity to share laughter. There are many questions you could ask to get the chat started. Here are some:

  • What was your favorite subject in school? Why did you like it best?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • How old were you on your first date? Do you remember their name? Where did you go?
  • What is your first memory?
  • Who was the first president you voted for? Why?
  • Did you have any pets growing up? What were their names?
  • Did you play any sports growing up?
  • Did you have a best friend growing up?
  • How did you meet Grandma/Grandpa?
  • What games did you play when you were little?
  • What was your first car?
  • What was the most embarrassing thing you ever did?
  • What was the dumbest thing you ever did?
  • What was the most awful food you ever ate? Did you make my mom/dad eat it?
  • What was the funniest thing my mom/dad ever said to you?
  • Did you ever get into trouble? What did you do wrong?

Aegis Living has a list of 30 questions to start a conversation between grandparents and their grandchildren. Fortune Well has 20 questions, and Squarespace offers a free guidebook to download. A Google search will offer hundreds of possibilities as well.

Want To Document the Memories?

Memory books are an option to document memories for future generations. There are formats with prompts to spark memories, or grandparents can tell their own stories. A journal allows grandparents to jot down memories they recall or give their thoughts about what occurred during the day. If they have difficulty getting started, jot down questions you would like them to answer. Check out Storyworth and Verywell Family for ideas. Or, do an online search or visit your local bookstore to see what it offers so you can memorialize their lives.

You might suggest they gather a few photos from years past to create a scrapbook with a few sentences describing who, what, when, where and why the photo was snapped. The New York Times, LifePrint, Martha Stewart and Sixty and Me offer suggestions for creating scrapbooks.

Get the Ball Rolling Today

Whether grandparents live near or far, sharing memories helps the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren grow and flourish. It also helps alleviate the social isolation and loneliness older adults often feel and gives them a sense of connection. These conversations can truly enhance family relationships while passing along memories for future generations. Start preparing for your next family gathering by jotting down some of these questions so you’re ready when the time comes!

About Right at Home

Right at Home provides a range of in-home care options for seniors and adults with disabilities, including companion care, personal care, nursing services, and specialty care for specific needs. Our bonded/insured caregivers can help you age at home, where you raised your family and all of your memories are.

Marsha Johns, blog author

Marsha Johns is a veteran health care marketer and award-winning writer. She strives to make medical topics understandable and relatable for all readers.

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