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Picking Your Grandparenting Name – How to Choose?

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originally posted 12/28/2018
updated 09/20/2020

Author: Ellen Blake

Your new grandparent name…how to choose?

Congratulations if you are expecting a grandchild! What will they call you? Choosing a grandparent name is serious as it is a name that will follow you for many years.  How to choose?

Do you feel “Grandma” sounds old? If so, you may want to go with something more hip. You can be creative –  or, you might prefer to follow the traditions in your family. This decision is not the most important one you will make as a grandparent, but it is a fun one.

Sometimes grandparent names can spark family conflict.  Do you want to use the same name as another grandparent? Two adults with the same name might confuse your little one. It may be a good idea to discuss your thoughts about your new name with the parents and the other grandparent(s).

Note: I focus more on names for grandmothers in this article, only because grandfathers usually tell me they don’t have strong feelings about it – though I know this is not the case for all!

10 Thoughtful Gifts for New Grandparents They Will Actually Use

Trendy Grandmother Names

If you don’t feel like the “typical” type of grandmother, you might want a more modern name that reflects your personality. Baby boomer grandparents created a trend in that they often decide to adopt cool and unusual grandparent names. 

Here are a few of the atypical names grandparents use:

  • Amma
  • Bamba or Bama
  • BeBe
  • Bella or Belle
  • Birdy or Birdie
  • Bunny
  • CeeCee or Cici
  • Coco
  • Gabby or Gabbi
  • GiGi
  • GoGo or Gogi
  • G-Ma or G-Mom (also spelled Geema or Geemom)
  • Glamma or Glammy
  • Grancy or Grancie
  • LaLa
  • Mia
  • Mimi
  • Nina
  • Pippy or Pippa


Traditional Grandmother Names

If you had a wonderful relationship with your grandmother, you may want to continue with the same one. If this child is fortunate to have both a grandmother and a great-grandmother in their life, introduce a small variation to differentiate between generations. In my family, we called our grandmother “Grandma” and our Great Grandmother “Gi-Gi” (short for Great Grandmother!).

  • Gammy or Gamma or Gams
  • Gram or Grams
  • Gramma
  • Grammy or Grammie
  • Grandma or Grandmaw
  • Grandmama
  • Grandmom
  • Grandmother
  • Grannie or Granny
  • Gran or Gran-Gran
  • Marmee or Marmi
  • MeMa or Mima

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Some grandmother names are especially prevalent in a specific geographical region or ethnic group. For example, the American South is known for its unique names.

These are some grandparent names common in certain groups or parts of the country.

  • Honey
  • Lovey
  • Lolly
  • Ma or Maw
  • MawMaw or Mawmaw
  • Memaw or MeeMaw
  • Mom-Mom
  • Queenie
  • Sassy
  • Sweetie

Grandmother in Other Languages

Do you want to choose a name that reflects your heritage? We called one of my grandmothers who was from Germany “Omi”, our take on the German name for grandmother, which is “Oma”.

Several different terms for grandmother exist in many countries. Below are some friends shared with me.

When the Grandbaby has Multiple Grandparents

Some children have 2 sets of grandparents, one from each side of the family. But many children have even more as step families are common in today’s world. In this case, some families choose to add the given name to the grandparent title to give each one their own special title. For example, you might have a Grandma Bonnie and a Grandma Marianne.

 

Will the Name Stick?

Despite all the time and thought you might put into your new title, your grandchild might choose a different, easier to pronounce name for you. Don’t get too attached to your choice and try to embrace whatever name the grandchild chooses.

 

What do your grandkids call you? Let us know in the comment section below.

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