How to Choose a Grandparent Name You’ll Love
How to Choose a Grandparent Name
January 2, 2023

How to Choose a Grandparent Name

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How to Choose a Grandparent Name.
How to Choose a Grandparent Name

If you’re expecting a new grandchild, have you thought about what your grandchild will call you? Nothing is more personal than a name, and when you’re a grandparent, you’re given a name your precious loved ones will use.

There are hundreds of unique grandparent names that go beyond grandma and grandpa, such as lola and lolo or gaga and pop pop. Your cultural heritage may help you narrow the list, or you can get creative and make up a name totally unique to you. Just remember, it’s a name that will stick with you for decades. And don’t get too attached to your choice: once your grandchild starts talking, you may end up with an adorable nickname they’ve dreamed up on their own.

Overwhelmed by options? Here are five questions to ask to help you choose a grandparent name you love.

1. How do you feel about tradition?

Many new grandparents find comfort and meaning in tradition. Taking up the same names as your own grandparents is a way to honor them and connect to the family lineage.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, generations of families in Western culture have used the classic Grandmother and Grandfather. These casual variations are more common today:

  • Grandma and Grandpa
  • Grammy and Grampie
  • Gamma and Gramps
  • Granny and Poppy
  • Nana and Papa

These classics remain among the most popular grandparent names. You can always add a creative twist like “GamGam” for grandmother or “Grandskers” for a grandfather known for his whiskers.

But for some new grandparents, the old standbys don’t fit. And even if you love the classics, having a blended family or living great-grandparents may encourage you to find creative ways to differentiate yourself.

2. Do you have strong cultural ties?

A grandparent name, whether directly linked to your own culture or one you’re connected to, can be a meaningful link to bring to your new role and phase of life. Grandparents serve as a bridge between past and future generations. A name from your family’s origins can remind your grandchild of their ancestral homeland and create a bond with its history.

Even if you don’t have strong cultural ties, the languages of different nationalities can be a source of inspiration. Here’s a collection of names from around the world. Some grandparents come up with variations that are uniquely their own.

  • French: Mémé and Pépé
  • German: Oma and Opa
  • Greek: Yiayia and Pappous
  • Hawaiian: Tūtū Wahine and Tūtū Kāne (or Tūtū for both)
  • Hindi: Nani and Nana (maternal) and Dadi and Dada (paternal)
  • Italian: Nonna and Nonno
  • Japanese: Sobo and Sofu
  • Filipino: Lola and Lolo
  • Russian: Babushka and Dedushka
  • Southern U.S.: Mawmaw and Pawpaw
  • Spanish: Abuela and Abuelo

3. Are there other grandparents in the family?

If there are other grandparents, you may want to discuss options and choose among them, or concede a chosen name to grandparents who already have grandchildren. If yours is a blended family with parents or grandparents who have remarried or have a new partner, it gets even more complicated.

To avoid confusion, just make sure all grandparents have different names. Step-grandparents may be comfortable with using their first names or adding their name to a title, such as Grampa Joe or Nana Pat.

4. Do you want a name that is uniquely your own?

Many modern grandparents choose unique, non-traditional names that suit their personality. These celebrity grandparent names offer inspiration:

  • Glam-Ma (Goldie Hawn)
  • Honey (Susan Sarandon)
  • Mimi Maxwell and Jefe (Laura and George W. Bush)
  • Martha (Martha Stewart)
  • Peach (Martin Sheen)

Or how about Foxy and Popsy, Lolli and Pop or Mimzy and Pimzy? Other possibilities could be a childhood nickname, a name that starts with your first initial, or what your name sounds like in baby talk.

If you want to break new ground, the options are limited only by your imagination. Just remember that phonetics matter. For a name that sticks, choose sounds your grandchild can pronounce easily once they’re old enough to speak.

5. Who picks grandparents’ names?

Some of the most endearing and original names come from the mouths of babes—a product of your grandchild’s imagination or (mis)pronunciation of the name you so carefully chose. These can be delightful, with sweet stories behind them. As one grandmother reports:

“I wanted a simple and easy name for my granddaughter. I picked “Gee,” but at an early age, she decided my name would be “Ju-Ju.” We still don’t know where this magical name came from, but who am I to argue? I love it!” – Ana C.

Choosing a grandparent name is an honor. Whatever you go with, it’s a name that can warm your heart for the rest of your life. To show how much your grandchild is loved, you might want to personalize a special gift with your new name—and be sure to savor every precious moment you spend together.

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