Ask your spouse’s parents where they met and when they decided to marry. This only works if your in-laws are still married. Nix this idea if your in-laws are separated or divorced.
Compliment something your in-law is wearing – a blouse, hat, belt, etc. And ask where he or she got the item.
If you’re at the home of one of your in-laws, ask about a piece of art or architectural element of their house.
Asking what your spouse was like as a kid almost always makes for lively conversation. Your new family may even whip out the old photos or home video.
If your in-laws are at your house, show them your wedding album or video. Be sure to point out their relatives, who were particularly kind or generous or left a lasting impression, to get them talking about the family history.
If your in-laws have a different culture from yours, ask them to elaborate on the traditions that you might want to incorporate into your married life.
Nothing brings a family together like food. Ask for family recipes. In-laws usually appreciate when the person marrying into the family shows an interest in their cooking.
Suggest playing a board game, such as Monopoly, Pictionary, or even Family Feud.
Asking about the weather or climate where they live, especially if you live in different places, might seem trite, but it always sparks conversation.
Tell an endearing story about your spouse to make your in-laws proud and get them chattering about his or her other accomplishments.
Ask them what their favorite color is and why.
Ask them what their best vacation was and why. See if there are other places they’d like to visit as well.
Tell them about your hobbies and then ask them to talk about theirs. People love to talk about things about which they are passionate.
If you’re visiting your in-laws from out of town, pick up the local paper before seeing them. Read a bit about their hometown and then ask them about some of the things you read.
Suggest taking a walk together and then discuss some of the things you see along the way.
Tell them how excited you are to be part of their family and ask if there is anything you can do to get closer to the family.
People are as talkative about their pets as they are their children. If your in-laws have a pet or two, ask about him or her or them.
Mad Libs are a great way to get the party started and share a few laughs with the in-laws.
Ask your in-laws for advice about something – from the color you should paint your entryway to how best to invest the leftover wedding cash gifts. Ask for help with something for which you know they’d have good advice that you will use. They’ll be honored that you want their opinion, and they’ll feel like they’re being useful and helpful.