Grandparent Names: What Do Your Kids Call Your Grandparents?

Popular lifestyle blogger, Gabrielle of Design Mom shares her thoughts on Grandparent Names.

Lucille Evans Pack - Popular lifestyle blogger, Gabrielle of Design Mom shares her thoughts on Grandparent Names.

My question for you today: How did you/do you address your grandparents? And how do your kids address their grandparents?

I was thinking of this because of a birthday note that June received over the weekend. Along with a birthday card, my mom likes to include a little info on one of the kids’ ancestors — just a paragraph or two with maybe a photo. Sometimes it’s a long-ago relative that lived in another country many generations ago. But this time it was someone a bit closer, someone I spent lots of time with as a child — my mother’s mother, Lucille Evans Pack, or in other words, June’s great-grandmother.

In the little note, my mom referred to her as GiGi, which is what her great-grandkids called her. I think that’s so cute — G.G., as in Great Grandmother! I’m not sure who thought to call her that. As grandkids, we called her Grandma Pack, so the name GiGi was only part of my life as an adult. Did she request it? Did one of the great-grandkids start it? Did one of my cousins or siblings suggest it? Or maybe it was thought up by one of her kids (my aunts and uncle and mother).

It has me wondering, what will my grandkids call me and Ben Blair? What will their kids call our parents? I want it to be something fun.

How about you? Do you stick with the classic, Grandma & Grandpa [last name]? Or do you use something more unusual? Maybe something you inherited from another country or another language? Gamma? Grammy? Poppa? Gramps? And what do you want your grandkids or great-grandkids to call you? I’d love to hear! If it helps, I just did a search for “alternative names for grandparents” and found this cute list. After reading it, I’m thinking our grandkids should call us Bubba and Ace. (I get to be Bubba.)

P.S. — The photo at top is Grandma Pack, age 82, on a boat headed to Santorini. She and my mom came to visit me and Ben when we lived in Greece. She even rode a donkey on the steep island paths!

139 thoughts on “Grandparent Names: What Do Your Kids Call Your Grandparents?”

  1. My girls call my parents “Grandma” and “Papa.” However, my husband is Welsh, and so they call his parents “Bampi” and “Nana.” We will hopefully continue my husband’s family tradition in the future; I like holding onto culture and history.

  2. My kids call my husband’s parents Nana and Pa. My dad and his wife are Grandfather and Grandmother, and my mom wanted to be called Matani (supposedly an African name for grandmother. My kids never took to that so they call her Grammy.

    I called own grandparents Mimi and Poppop. Mimi got the name from a little neighbor boy who started calling her that. Whom was my G.G. When my kids were born Mimi naturally became G.G.

    The best name I’ve heArd for grandparents is from a couple in our cjurc. They are Lolli and Pop! I think that is adorable.

  3. My mother would have no part of the grandma, grandmother business and appointed herself ‘Kitty’. My parents have always called each other ‘Bear’, so my children pretty quickly came up with “Grandbear”…So it’s Kitty and Grandbear, which is pretty darn cute! Fun thread!

  4. My grandparents on one side were Grandma and Grandpa and on the other, Lulu and Pop! (Everyone called my grandmother Lulu.) Now, for my children’s generation, my parents are Grandad and Granny, my dad because some of the grandkids called his dad grandad and my mom because her favorite grandma was called granny, and she wants to be just like her. :) I find it amusing that my very young feeling 62 year old mom is a granny, but that’s what she wants, so who am I to contradict? Besides, grandma and grandpa on only one side makes things so easy.

  5. This is such an interesting topic!
    I call my grandparents on my mom’s side Granny and Papa, and on my dad’s side Grandma and Grandpa.
    My parents are now Gogi and Papa. My mom wanted to be Granny (the Scottish tradition), but my oldest nephew couldn’t say Granny when he started to talk, and Gogi just stuck!

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  6. Here in Sweden it’s so much simpler: my mother’s mother is “mormor” (mother mother), mother’s father “morfar” (mother father), fathers mother “farmor” (father mother) and fathers father “farfar” (father father). This also means that “mormors mor” is my mothers mormor :)

  7. When I was a child, Grandparents names were very formal (i.e., Grandma and Grandpa Park). When my children were born I wanted something unique, as we had 3 sets of Grandparents and a Great Grandparent to consider, and I wanted the Grandparents to have a choice. My husband is German, so his parents decided on the traditional Oma & Opa. My mom & step dad went with Mimi & Papa. My dad & step mom went with Pop & Sassy. My children’s Great Grandmother liked tiny GG (she is 4’4″). I love that they each have a unique name to go by (and since my kids are the oldest grandchildren, all of the other nieces and nephews have chosen to use the same names).

    Such a fun post!

  8. My daughter has Lolo & Lola (Filipino) and Nonno & Nonna (Italian). She’s a third culture kid (we live in Australia) so keeping our naming traditions was an easy way of connecting her with our heritage. She’ll be a big sister soon (four weeks!) and is proudly announcing that she is going to be “Ate” — how big sisters are referred to :)

  9. mom in mendon

    I think the grandparent has to help orchestrate the name they want. It may feel contrived at the time but if they don’t, it’s hard to change. GG in our family announced the name she wanted early on. Grandma Rudi wanted Guru but it was too late and didn’t take.

    It seems inappropriate for a child to call a mature person by their first name, so having a grandma nickname takes care of that for others, too.

    Cute names mentioned! Boss, Kitty, Lolli, etc. : )

  10. One of my besties is Puerto Rican and so her mom is the Abeulita, but they have shortened it to Wellie, and I love that.
    Ours are my husbands parents, Oma and Opa, and on my side my Mom, who is called Nana.
    Such fun comments to read!

  11. vermontmommy

    My son is oldest grandchild on my side of the family. My Dad thought he would be called Pappy as that is what he called his Grandfather. Turns out Parker called him Pop Pop instead of Pappy and the name stuck. He’s now known as Pop Pop to his 6 grandchildren.

  12. For my parents: Grandma and Grandpa.
    For my husbands parents: Nana and Papa.

    My husband and I will be Nana and Papa when we are older I think.

  13. I am the oldest grandchild. My grandma was young, and NOT interested in grandmothering. On my own, I called her ‘Maman’ when I learned to talk (they had lived in France many years with their young family, and all spoke fluent French).

    She melted, and has been Maman to all of the grandkids ever since.

  14. Both sets of my grandparents were Grandma/Grandpa and we used last names if we had to distinguish. My mom is Grandma to my kids, my dad, however is Rascal because that is what he calls the kids “little rascals” so they call him that back. My kids are lucky enough to have three greatgrandmothers, they call them all Great Grandma and use a last or first name if clarity is necessary.

  15. my kids have a Nona and a Papu–my parents. My husband’s parents are Grandma and Grandpa
    When I was a kid I had a Nona and a Poppy–my mom’s parents
    and a Nani and a Papa–my dad’s parents. she never liked being called Nani, and always referred to herself as Grandma Bella–which is what my cousins called her. But we never called her that!

  16. I didn’t realize how southern I was raised until I went to college and people didn’t call their grandparents “Mamaw” or “papaw”. I was shocked!!!
    My kids now have grandma and Mimi.

  17. As typical for my generation, I just called my grandparents Grandma and Granddaddy when addressing them, and added (last name) when talking about them. When my kids were born, my husband’s parents were already called Grandma and Grandpa by their other grandkids, so my parents wanted something different. My dad went with Granddaddy which is what his dad was. My mom chose Nana because she just liked it.

  18. My kids call their grandparents by “Grandma [first name]” and “Grandpa [first name].” We live in the South were it’s common to call adults by Mr. or Ms. followed by their first name. I love how it gives respect to adults but also seems a little more personal than using last names.

    1. I love this…I think it is still respectful, but a little more cozy than using a last name. I always addressed my aunts and uncles this way.

  19. My son was born in Switzerland, so we initially referred to grandparents as Oma and Opa. As he got older and more verbal, he combined his love for Elmo with Oma to get “Elma.” He now has an Elma and a Papa. My nephew calls these same grandparents Gaga and Papa and his great grandparents O. Gaga and O. Papa. (With O being short for old).

  20. This is so fun!
    My kids call my in laws Grammy and Grampy. But they call my parents G-Ma and G-Pa. (For Gaia’s Ma and Pa.)

  21. I learned to speak while my dad was stationed in Denmark. I called my mom’s mother, Mormor, which means exactly that; mother’s mother. Her father was Morfar; mother’s father. My dad’s folks were always Grandma and Granddad.

    For my grandson, I am his Mormor and my son-in-law’s mother is the Brazilian Vovó. Gotta love international families!

  22. My grandparents were Nana and Poppa, great grandmother was Gigi. Those are the only grandparents I knew.

    My son calls my mom “nana,” my dad “grandpa,”and my stepmother “Lovejoy” (her last name before marrying my dad, which is perfect because it would be difficult to come up with a term for her, especially since they only married a few years ago). My MIL is “meme” (like Mimi), and my FIL is “Poppa.”

    Typing this makes me wonder…what do other people call step-grandparents?

  23. Was also just thinking of my best friend’s parents – when she found out she was pregnant she teased them that they would be called Mopsy and Poppy. Her daughter is the oldest though, and it stuck – Mopsy & Poppy they are!

  24. My sons call my father-in-law Poppa and mother-in-law G.G.–short for Grandma Graham! :) And my sons and many of their cousins call my mom Bobba and my dad Poppy. Both were dubbed by our oldest niece as she was learning to talk. And both names stuck!

    1. Oh and I called my mom’s mom many names growing up–led by my silly sister. Like Gwerma, Gwerms, Gwermcracker, haha! She just laughed right along.

  25. My great-grandmother designated herself Granny Great before she ever had great-grandkids. And so now my children call their great grandmother Granny Great. Growing up we called one Grandma Konold and the other Grandma Brown. But a cousin down the line started calling Grandma Konold by her first name, and we all loved is so much we now all call her Grandma Sunny.
    This summer my kids will meet their step-grandma for the first time (my husband’s father recently married after the death of his first wife, and we live overseas so they haven’t meet yet). I’m not sure what to call her. My husband had a similar situation growing up and they always just called her by her first name, which to me seemed kind of sad. My kids are so young this will be the grandma they remember. I don’t want to her or them to feel like she’s not “real” because she’s not their father’s mother. I want them to have a loving relationship with her and somehow having a title seems to be part of that. Or maybe I’m just making something out of nothing.

  26. When we were little, we called them Grandpa Len, Grandma Jean, etc. Now we call them Gram and Spanky, Mutti (German for ‘mom), and Grandma Joan.

  27. My aunt’s first grandchild came up with/randomly started using the name ‘Mugga’ for her. She had that one grandchild for 7 years before she got anymore but now she has 12 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild and they all call her ‘Mugga’. It’s so unusual!

  28. My only living grandmother has about 5 different names, depending on which of her 27 grandchildren, or 11 (so far) great-grandchildren you ask. I’ve always called her “Memaw”, which I pronounce “Meh-maw” with a soft “e”. She also goes by “Mamaw”, “Granny”, “Meemaw” and “Geemaw”. Interestingly, my mother (one of her daughters-in-law) calls her “Granny”, and was apparently encouraged to do so shortly after she married my father. At that point, my grandmother was barely in her 40’s, and still had 8 of her 10 children at home, including a toddler. I guess she was looking to the future? Her husband went by “Pop [Last name] to the older grandchildren, and “Peppaw” or “Poppa” to the younger set.

    My deceased maternal grandmother was “Mamaw” and her husband (who spent most of my life in a Veterans hospital) was “Papaw”. Papaw’s mother outlived him by more than a decade, and I called her the comparatively formal “Great-Granma”.

    When my mother found out that she was to be a grandmother, she very deliberately set out to pick a name. For the longest time, she tried to force my nephew to call her “Grand Mom”. Toddler force of will had its way, and she quickly became “GeeGee”.

  29. I love this topic! It’s fun to read everyone’s responses and see all the different names. My side of the family uses Grandma and Grandpa. My husband’s side uses Mamaw and Papaw. I’ve told my husband and kids that when it comes time for us to be grandparents, we’re going to break the tradition and be called something different. I really love GiGi or MiMi and I also like Nana. I don’t think my husband will go for anything other than Papaw. He was so close to his own Papaw and he was such an influence on his life that he sees it as a sign of respect to carry on that name. We have friends whose kids use the names Grandy and Pop – I think those are sweet, too.

  30. My mother was called Grandma Beans, because she always had Jelly Belly jelly beans in her purse for the grandchildren. When she passed away, we had huge bowls of jelly beans at the funeral. Every Christmas and Easter, I put Jelly Belly jelly beans in all the grandchildren’s stockings and baskets, so the kids remember their Grandma Beans.

  31. My North Carolinian paternal grandfather had always been referred to as Granddaddy, until my younger brother Andy re-christened him. As a toddler, Andy had trouble saying “Granddaddy” and “Gran Gran” was the closest he could get. The name stuck! :)

  32. For reasons no one can remember we called my great grandmother Granny Grunt.
    She even had a hand painted sign on her front door. I never even thought it was strange until kids made fun of it at school.
    My parents are PopPop and Nini. My husband’s Spanish mother is Yaya and his Italian father is Nonno. My husband has already decided he will be a nonno rather than an abuelo. Fortunately I have quite awhile before I acquire mine.

  33. My mother’s grandparents, my great-grandparents, were GeeGee and Granddad. My mother’s parents, to me, were Gram and Grampa. My grandfather passed away when I was 11. My grandmother had the opportunity to meet two of her three great-granddaughters. When my husband and I started dating, he jokingly referred to my grandmother as “Yoda.” She was wrinkly and awesome and all of barely five feet tall, hence the nickname. When my oldest was learning to talk we never censored ourselves when talking about “Yoda.” She started referring to her as “Gramma Yo-Yo.” Now, my grandmother was a very proud woman and could not understand how her great-grandchild could refer to her with a slang term reserved for slightly nutty folks. Finally, one Thanksgiving, my husband filled her in on how the nickname came to be. She passed away in January 2011, 6 months after her second great-granddaughter was born. We now all refer to her as Gramma Yo-Yo. My parents are called MeeMee and Papa/Pop (as I called my father Pop as a child, he never liked the word “Dad.”) My husband’s parents are called Mimi and Grandpa (sometimes Mimi Next Door to differentiate, as we live next to my in-laws). I love all the variations here!

  34. Growing up, I always called my grandparents Grandma Shirley, Grandpa Bud etc –
    When my son was born I figured it would be the same, my dad would be Grandpa John. When my son started talking he very clearly declared that my Dad was “Yeatah” which we can’t figure out (maybe short for Yay Grandpa!?), but it’s been his identity ever since!

  35. I had Nanny [last name] and Nanny [first name], no living Grandfathers.
    Now my kids have: Nana & Grampy, Grammie & Grampy, and Papa & Farmor (Danish anc. – father’s mother) since my husband’s parents are remarried – all requested by themselves.
    If asked today I’d be called Gran.

  36. We are 7 months pregnant with the first grandchild on both sides, so we JUST had this conversation! I will be Mommy, and my parents will be Mimi and Poppy. My wife will be Mamma, and her parents will be Nana and Papa. I like the “E” sounds on one side and the “AH” sounds on the other side, haha.

  37. My grandchildren call my husband Guppy — which is a toddler’s corruption of Grampy which was my husband’s choice for a name. We absolutely love the name Guppy — so original! My mother-in-law was called GaGa by her grandchildren. It too was a child’s corruption — of Grandma. She loved the unique name — perhaps not the connotation so much!

  38. Wow, this is fascinating. In Sweden the maternal grandparents are called mormor and morfar (literal translation would be mothermother and motherfather). The paternal grandparents are called farmor and farfar (fathermother and fatherfather). Using other names than those would be very uncommon.

  39. My mother called her parents Mama and Papa, so we called them Grandma and Grandpa. My father called his parents Mother and Dad, but when I was learning to talk, he called his mother Marjie to be cool. So I tried to call her Grandmarjie, but it came out Grandmernie, and I called his father Granddaddy. I was the first grandchild on my father’s side, so Grandmernie stuck!

  40. My Mom has stipulated that she’d like to be Grammy for all future grandkids, while my Dad has yet to have an opinion. I want his to be special though, as I know grandkids will be absolutely crazy about him.

    My partner’s Mom has put in her bids for GG, but for her that is “Gorgeous Grandma”.

    My own grandparents were Grandpa and Grandma, for most of their “careers”, but when I was ten (and the youngest grandchild) I started Gma (prounounced Gee-Mah) and it took off. I love that she had her own unique name.

  41. I only had one grandparent alive by the time I was old enough to talk, and she was Grandma Forrer. Great’s were Great-Grandma/pa (Last Name). My husband’s family always went with Grandma/Grandpa (first name). (Not sure on Greats.) He had all of his grandparents through high school. One passed away a few short years ago and the other two are still going strong. My kids call them Great-Grandma/Grandpa (first name). As for my kids’ grandparents, our moms are Grandma (first name). My husband’s dad is Grandpa Goofer. His name is Gary, but he truly is a huge goof. The first grandkid gave him the nickname and it has stuck. Hard. We live in a small town, and quite a few folks now call him Grandpa Goofer! :) Oh – and my mom is known ALL over town as Grandma Pat. Which is just an extension from when I was in school: she taught in the same school district so for a number of years she was “Mom Forrer” to my brother’s and my class mates.

    (Personally, I’ve always wanted to be called Nonna when/if that time comes.)

  42. Love this question! My 2 year old calls my parents PamPam (Pamela) and Larpop (Larry). My sister in law came up with the names because she wanted to make sure whatever my kids (I had the first grandbabies) called them she liked for her kids down the road

  43. Danielle Blake

    My maternal grandparents were Grandma and Grandpa [Name]. My paternal grandparents were Granny [Name] and Pompa. Pompa came about because I, as the oldest grandchild, couldn’t pronounce Grandpa properly. Over time those changed to Gran and Grandpa. But I use Granny [Name] with my kids now. My Pompa has passed but I would have loved for them to call him that.

    My kids have three sets of grandparents. My husband’s parents are Grandma and Grandpa. My dad and stepmom are Grandma and Grandpa too. We add first names if clarification is needed. My mom and stepdad are Nana and Abuelo, which they chose.

  44. I grew up calling my grandparents Grandma or Grandpa [first name]. So that’s mostly what my kids do with their own grandparents, except my mom. Her name is Camille, and we decided before my oldest was born that she’d be “Grammy Cami” and it has stuck. Once one of the toddlers accidentally called her Grammy Candy and she rewarded them with candy, but it didn’t stick. :)

  45. When my triplet granddaughters were born almost four years ago the Grandmother naming began. “Mimi” was taken. Ditto “Cici”. Not going for any “Granny” names I decided I would really branch out and told the family I wanted to go by my favourite name of “Kate”. They laughed for two weeks. So- scratch Kate. I LOVE Coco, the fragrance by Chanel. Well, if I couldn’t have Kate I would go for Coco, and Coco I am!

    I love your blog! (I’m very good friends with Sandi from your village in France!)
    Alison H.

  46. I come from a long line on my mothers side of women who let their grandchildren “come up” with a nickname on their own as toddlers. It’s so great. My great-grandma’s name was Ella, toddlers converted it to “LaLa”, so she was “LaLa” forevermore, even to her friends. Her daughter, my grandmother, was Mary Frances, toddler converted to “Tancie”, and she was “Tancie” from then on, again, even to her large circle of friends. Signed her name that way, etc. My mom is Marybeth, toddlers started with Ma-Ba, which I wish had stuck, but soon became “Bethie” which is her adored name now. I just think it’s all so much better than any “grandma-esqe” name. Can’t wait to see what my grandchildren come up with!!!

  47. My grandparents are/were Nannie and Papa / Grandma and Grandpa. When I met my husband I thought it was so funny his grandparents were all called the same as mine!

  48. My grandparents were Grammy and Grampy, and Grandma Shirley and Poppa/Papa (the spelling goes back and forth to this day). To my daughter, he remains Poppa (with whatever spelling – she’s only 4 now), my parents are Nana and Grandpa Paul, and my husbands parents are Grandma Cheryl and Grandpa Larry. The first names are mostly only included when needed to clarify which Grandpa we’re talking about. :)

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