Whether you’re a family who sees their grandparents frequently or just gets together from time-to-time for holidays, reunions or vacations, you probably think your kids know their grandparents pretty well.
Yet according to a recent survey by Ancestry.com, 68 percent of those surveyed admitted that they didn’t know how their grandparents met, and over one third didn’t even know what their grandparents’ occupations were.
So how can parents help their kids take the initiative to really get to know their grandparents? To get the ball rolling, here are two great resources that can help facilitate meaningful questions and conversation starters at your next family get-together.
One of my favorites is the Have the Talk of a Lifetime Conversation Cards. There are 50 cards in a deck, and each one is printed with a different question like: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? What is something very few people know about you? Who has been the most influential person in your life?
To play, simply get your family together and take turns choosing cards. You can either have everyone answer, or just have the person who drew the card answer.
These nifty cards can help kick-start a wide variety of conversation topics that will get families talking, laughing and sharing stories to help your children get to know their grandparents in a new way.
Another helpful resource that’s loaded with ideas is the Have the Talk of a Lifetime Activity Guide. This free, 24-page online booklet offers tips on natural conversation starters, family tradition discussions, table talk starters, interactive games that spur conversations, ancestry and family tree talks, and fun family photo suggestions.
Both of these tools will help your kids learn more about your parents’ memorable events, people, places, values, as well as the lessons they learned along the way, which can help make them closer. And who knows? It might even help you understand your own mom or dad better a little better and strengthen your relationship, too.
Jim Miller is the creator of Savvy Senior (savvysenior.org), a syndicated information column for boomers and seniors that is published in more than 400 newspapers and magazines nationwide.
Jim is also a contributor to NBC’s “Today” show and KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, author of The Savvy Senior: The Ultimate Guide to Health, Family and Finances for Senior Citizens (Hyperion, 2004), creator of the Senior Newswire service (seniornewswire.org), and voices a one-minute radio tip of the week that is broadcast in more than 1,000 senior centers and assisted living facilities via Golden Age Entertainment.
Jim has been featured in numerous high profile publications, including Time magazine, USA Today and The New York Times, and has made multiple appearances on CNBC, CNN, Retirement Living Television and national public television.