In last week’s post I shared 10 Things to Teach Your Grandchildren. While things such as playing Jacks and learning to tie a tie provide fun and entertainment in themselves, another huge benefit of these “teaching sessions” is the environment they create – perfect for safe and comfortable conversation.
INITIATE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION
One way to initiate meaningful conversation with your grandchildren is to ask them questions. We’re not talking about questions of the “yes” or “no” variety but great, open-ended questions. Asking questions is a wonderful way to show interest in your grandchild. Open-ended questions, specifically, can also lead to enlightened conversation and provide you with glimpses into your grandchild that you might not otherwise get.
Anytime you are with your grandchild is a prime time for meaningful conversation. Don’t limit yourself to “teaching sessions.” Ask open-ended questions at meal time, after school, or just before bed. Throw one or two out during a phone conversation or text it to your grandchild. If you’ll be traveling together, ask your questions during the ride. You might even want to select a few questions to use each year as an interview. Perhaps every Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, or birthday you might ask the same questions of the same child as a creative way to track the growth and maturation of your grandchild.
If asking open-ended questions is new to you, there is nothing wrong with brainstorming a simple list of questions before you hang out with your grandchild The key is to come up with questions that give your grandchild an opportunity to answer honestly and to share about things that are important to them.
OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR GRANDCHILDREN
(About Their World Today)
What do you like most about school?
Who is your best friend? Why?
What are your favorite and least favorite: food, holiday, team, book?
When you’re having a bad day, what’s the best thing you can do to cheer yourself up?
What chores do you dislike the most around the house?
What two things would you like to learn how to do? Why?
Who did something super nice for you today?
What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?
Who made you smile today?
What new fact did you learn today?
How would you like to spend the next hour?
What would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?
(Questions to Get Them Thinking)
If something could fall from the sky other than rain or snow, what would you like it to be? Why?
If you won $1,000.00 in a contest, what would you do with the money? Why?
What superpower would you like to have? Why?
Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some? Why?
(What’s In the Future?)
What is the one thing you think you’ll be really good at when you are an adult?
How will a typical day look when you are an adult?
What are two jobs you think would be really fun to do as an adult?
What are two jobs you think would be the worst to do as an adult?
Where would you most like to live when you are an adult?
What are you looking forward to most when you’re an adult? Least?
What do you think your life will be like when you get to be my age?
Did you notice the follow-up questions? As you are honing the skill of asking open-ended questions, learn to follow-up by asking a second question. In asking for more detail by way of a second question, you provide encouragement and space for your grandchild to open-up even more.