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Interview Your Grandchild

What You Need: No materials.

Doing It:

Questions are important in intergenerational communication. Children are full of questions: May I have a cookie? Why is the sky blue? Is there a Santa Claus? Are we there yet? Having the patience to answer them is important -- and grandparents often have more patience than parents because their role is different and the time they spend with children is limited.

In addition to answering questions, grandparents should also ask them. When you ask a grandchild about themselves -- their feelings, their ideas, and their opinions -- it helps you get to know them better. Asking grandchildren questions and encouraging reflective answers also teaches them an important skill. They learn to think clearly for themselves, make choices and solve problems, and become independent thinkers. As people get older, questions, and their answers, become more complex. They have consequences. They require more thinking, more work, and a process that may be demanding or painful. Asking children fun, engaging questions when they're young prepares them for life's big, difficult questions when they're older.

Here are some sample questions to ask your grandchild the next time you're visiting or talking on the phone (choose questions appropriate for the age of grandchild):

  • What do you like most about school? Least? What would you like to change?

  • What's your favorite subject in school and why?

  • Who's your "best friend" and why?

  • What are your favorite and least favorite: food, dessert, fruit, vegetable, color, animal, day of the week, season, holiday, sport, team, sports star, cartoon, song, TV show, movie, movie star, book.

  • What's the absolute best gift you ever received?

  • What's the latest you ever stayed up at night? What were you doing?

  • 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?

  • Would you like to be on TV? Why? What show would you like to be in?

  • If you owned a candy store, what would be your favorite candy to sell and why?

  • If something could fall from the sky other than rain or snow, what would you like it to be and why?

  • If you had to move to another country, which country would you pick and why?

  • If you could travel in a time machine and go back in history, where would you like to go? Is there any particular event you'd like to witness?

  • If you won $1,000 in a contest, what would you do with the money and why?

  • What two things would you like to learn how to do? Why?

  • How do you feel about how old you are? Would you like to be younger or older? Why?

  • What's the biggest change in your life during the past year? Was it a good change or a bad one?

  • What's the one thing you think you'll be really good at when you're an adult?

  • Where would you like to be living ten years from now?

  • What are two jobs you think would be really fun to do as an adult? Two jobs that would be the worst? What do you think would be the scariest or most dangerous job?

  • 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?

  • What problems in this world do you think need to be fixed? What would you do about them?

  • If you could find out one thing for sure about the future, what would it be and why?

From Grandparents Day Activity Kit © Susan V. Bosak