Bonding Tips

40 Small Talk Prompts to Get to Know Your Grandparents Better

Let’s overcome the awkward silence. I know how hard it is when it’s just you and your old folks in the room. Especially when you are only meeting them a few times per year, during the festive seasons. You try to pass the time by checking your phone and while they stare at you thinking to themselves, “young people these days are just about their phone.”

So, here are some questions to break the ice and to make the time spent together more meaningful.

Jiak Simi?

simi small talk prompt jiak simi cat eating fish

“Jiak” means to eat in Hokkien, and “simi” means what. “Jiak simi” is asking someone “what to eat?” or “what are you eating?”. Food is generally an easy topic to start with and you can go very far with it. Who doesn’t eat, right? So take this opportunity to find out all about food with your grandparents. The conversation should be two-way, so do share your answers as well.

  1. Favourite food?
  2. Cook, eat, or wash?
  3. Signature dish? Describe how to cook it.
  4. Food you miss the most right now?
  5. A food place that you would give an award under your name (e.g. Michelin Star)?
  6. Most exotic food you have tried?
  7. Favourite mom’s dish?
  8. Types of food that you dislike?
  9. Food that you will sell in your restaurant (if you are to open one)?
  10. Food that you won’t get bored eating?

Kua Simi?

simi small talk prompt kua simi cat with sparkling eyes

“Kua” means to watch in Hokkien. Similar to “jiak simi”, “kua simi” is asking someone “what to watch?” or “what are you watching?”. Please be mindful not to say “kua simi kua” as it could sound quite rude.

  1. Nostalgic places you would like to visit again?
  2. Most exotic/peculiar place you have been to?
  3. Places you would like to visit with your family?
  4. Favourite show?
  5. Show you are watching now? / Last watched show?
  6. TV, Youtube, or Netflix?
  7. Recommend a book?
  8. The most memorable event you have seen?
  9. A person you would like to meet right now?
  10. Something you won’t throw away?

Zor Simi?

simi small talk prompt zor simi cat lying down

“Zor” means to do something in Hokkien. So, “zor simi” means “what are you doing?” or “what to do?”. It would be interesting to find out the daily routine and special interest of your grandparents, even during their childhood.

  1. Hobby?
  2. Sports you can / like to play?
  3. Activities you always do at home? Why?
  4. The first thing to do in the morning? Why?
  5. Funny things you have done?
  6. Activities you wish you could / would like to do?
  7. Activities you would like to do with your family?
  8. House chores you dislike the most?
  9. A masterclass you can teach others?
  10. A business you would like to create?

Gong Simi?

simi small talk prompts gong simi cat talking

“Gong” means to say something in Hokkien and “gong simi?” means “what are you talking?” or “what say you?”. When coming to storytelling, grandparents usually are not shy to share their wealth of experience! It’s a good opportunity to discover more about them.

  1. Share a childhood story?
  2. Share about your day in dialect? (Good opportunity to learn the dialect from your grandparents!)
  3. Tell a folklore story?
  4. 3 words your friends would describe you?
  5. Tell a joke?
  6. Proudest achievement?
  7. Person you’re most thankful for?
  8. Describe your hometown?
  9. What’s your dream?
  10. What does happiness mean to you?

Try out the Simi small talk prompts with your families and friends!

These prompts are only to help you get started with the conversation. To make the conversation meaningful, have a balanced two-way sharing. It’s all about getting to know each other better and that’s how bonding works!

Share with us in the comment which is your favourite prompt!

Bonding Tips

5 simple actions to make your grandparents happy

National Grandparents Day is not a very common celebration across the world. Singapore started celebrating Grandparents’ Day in 1979, a year after the U.S. started. It is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in November. For this year, it will fall on 22 November.

So what is the significance of celebrating Grandparents Day? It is to celebrate the bonding of grandparents and grandchildren. In today’s society, not many grandparents are staying under the same roof as their grandchildren. This makes it harder for them to spend time together and bond. If children don’t grow up interacting with their grandparents, it gets tougher for the two different generations to engage in meaningful conversations. Thus, it’s important to have Grandparents Day to remind us to care for our grandparents and to educate our children the same.

Here are 5 simple actions that you can do to make your grandparents happier! These are practical tips to spice up the upcoming Grandparents Day and for daily interactions.

Give them a surprise phone call just to chit chat with them.

It doesn’t matter if the first call was just the standard Q&A’s and with some awkward silences. Try again another day, by preparing some key topics to chat about – questions to ask them, current affairs, world news, personal stories… The conversation will get more natural over time.

Ask them for the best food recommendations

They will never be shy when talking about the best food in town. Get them to describe their favourite food as detailed as possible and they will be craving for it. Then, surprise them by buying the food from the place they recommended. Enjoy a good meal together!

Help to organize their places

It can get tough for seniors to keep their places neat and clean the whole time. Sometimes, they may start hoarding to an unhealthy level. It is good to organize their places together with them by making sure that they will be familiar with the changes. Do look out for their daily household items that are broken or in unhygienic condition. Replace those items and inform them accordingly.

Perform a simple magic trick or share a funny video

A magic trick, a joke, or a funny video – either of these will always help to break the ice. After having a good laugh, you can also teach them how to do the trick and let them try. Take some videos and watch them together to have another good round of laughing.

You can also take nice selfies together and try on funny filters. Help them to set their favourite photo as their phone background image.

Play some oldies songs

Make some guesses of the oldies songs that they may recognize and play them in the background. If they find the tune familiar, they might sing along! Find out more about their favourite songs and play for them. Learn a few verses and sing together.

Little things like those above can really brighten their days and help to bring your relationships closer. Intergenerational engagements have proven to help reduce loneliness among seniors and promote their emotional well-being. This is even more effective when the engagement is with close kins.

At Simi, we provide daily tips and topics to inspire different generations to interact with each other. Follow us on Facebook for more insights.