Are you writing a personal memoir? Prepping interview questions to record a grandparent’s life story? Writing for self-reflection? Regardless of the situation, these life story questions are a great place to start if you want to reminisce about your formative years. All of our stories begin with childhood. Those early life experiences and the people who were around us significantly impact the people we become. So, grab a notebook, computer, typewriter, or video camera and dig into the prompts below. Enjoy the trip down memory lane!
What was your mother/father like when you were growing up?
What sights, sounds and smells remind you of your mother/father?
What do you know about your mother/father’s life before she had you?
What is one of the greatest lessons your mother/father has taught you?
Tell me about a favorite memory you have of your mother/father.
How would you describe your relationship with your mother/father growing up?
What do you admire most about your mother/father?
In what ways did your mother/father let you down?
If you were adopted, did you ever meet your biological parents? What do you know about them?
What were your siblings like?
Did you have a blended family? What was that experience like?
Describe your relationship with your siblings.
What did you and your siblings like to do together?
If you had multiple siblings, which one were you closest with growing up?
Describe a time you got in trouble with your sibling(s). What happened?
Do you think your siblings shaped who you became? How?
What do you think you were like as a brother or a sister?
Describe a favorite childhood memory with each of your siblings.
If you were an only child, what did you like and dislike about your experience?
Who else in your family were you close with? Why?
What were family gatherings like? How often did they happen?
How did you spend holidays with your extended family?
What, if any, kind of family drama was there when you were growing up?
What vacations did you take growing up?
What was the best place you visited?
Describe a time when something went completely wrong while traveling.
Which family vacation was the most memorable and why?
When was the first time you flew on an airplane and what was it like?
What did your family like to do on vacation?
What was your favorite holiday growing up?
Which holidays did your family celebrate and how did they celebrate?
Did you have any family traditions associated with holidays?
What was the most memorable birthday gift you received as a child?
What was the most memorable Christmas gift you received as a child?
Are there any holiday memories that stick out in your mind?
How did you spend your summers growing up?
What was the best home you lived in growing up? What did you love about it?
What was your neighborhood like?
Did you have any interesting neighbors?
Did your family move around or stay put? What was that experience like?
Pick a house you lived in and describe it in as much vivid detail as possible. What stories could that house tell?
Did your family ascribe to any religion?
What role did this play in your life growing up?
How did your experiences as a child impact your own faith as you grew into adulthood?
What was the place of worship you attended like?
What memories do you associate with your family’s faith?
What were you like as a child?
Do you know how you got your name?
What sorts of things filled your days as a child?
Are there any games or toys you particularly remember playing with?
Did you have any nicknames? How did that name come about?
Did you earn an allowance growing up? What did you spend your money on?
What is the happiest moment of your childhood?
What was the saddest moment of your childhood?
What were you like as a teenager?
What type of people did you hang out with in high school?
Did you have any significant relationships as a teenager?
Who was your first kiss? How did it happen?
What kinds of jobs did you have during this time? What was your favorite?
Were there any adults that you really looked up to or admired?
What kinds of activities did you participate in?
When and how did you learn to drive?
What was your first car like?
What was your experience of high school like?
Describe a rite of passage you experienced as a teenager.
What major world events do you remember during those years?
What is the happiest moment of your teenage years?
What was the saddest moment of your teenage years?
What did you think of the world at the time?
What was your favorite place to hang out with your friends?
What hopes or aspirations did you have for your adult years?