Names for Grandparents

What do you call your grandparents?

Grandparents with baby
Photo © Yagi Studio/Getty Images

As you are pregnant you might forget one thing - you are making someone a grandparent. The name that you choose to associate with this title for your new baby can be varied. Some families go with traditional names or something from family history. Other families choose to find a new name that represents the style of the person. Some things to take into consideration include:

  • Are there already other grandchildren?
  • Does this person have a preference?
  • Is the name embarrassing?
  • How will you differentiate between grandparents? (e.g. two going by grandma)
  • What is your preference?
  • Do you have any family traditions, religious ideas or the like?

This can be a very emotional decision. You and your partner may want to talk about this before approaching the prospective grandparents. There are so many things that will be a part of this decision.  They may also have ideas about what they want to be called or there may be a strong family tradition in one or both families. 

"My mom had her heart set on being called Nana," explains one mom. "But my husband's mother was already nana to his brother's kids. I was really worried about it. The good news was - they both were nana! We just had Nana and Nana P. Everyone was happy and I was worried about nothing."

To get you started, here are some of the names that people use for grandparents:


  • Grandma
  • Grandmother
  • Nana
  • Bubbye
  • Softa
  • Nona
  • Abuela
  • Nanny
  • Mawmaw


  • Grandpa
  • Grandfather
  • Pawpaw
  • Zaidye
  • Abuelo
  • Pop
  • Granddaddy

How Do You Decide?

Another thing to think about is how you decide what to call the grandparents in your life. When I grew up I was the third grandchild on one side and the fifth on another.

The names were already set. As I grew older, I felt silly using the name we had for my maternal grandmother, I switched to calling her grandma. I asked her about it a few years later and she said she preferred it, that no one had asked about what she wanted to be called, and had been stuck with it for over 25 years!

So it is important to take into account your family beliefs and trends. You may have names handed down, generation from generation. You may also talk to the grandparents and ask what their opinion is on the matter. They will be the one who has to be called this name for a long time. They may also simple want to avoid one or two of the more common names that may be popular in the family. Be considerate.

First Grandchild

The first grandchild does actually get a say in what the grandparents are called. No matter what you pick, your child might wind up not able to saying it, but they come up with something close. It can be cute when you're young, but calling grandma, Gog can get old. So word to the wise, don't stress the cutesy names any longer than grandma and grandpa want.

In the end, everyone gets a name. It may not be what they expected but as long as they are in contact with the grandkids, the whole grandparent naming convention is typically not a big deal.


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