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What Should my Grandchild Call me?

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 24 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Grandparents Names Grandma Grandpa

Finding out that you are going to be a grandparent is a life changing experience. While everyone has their own feelings about the new chapter in their lives that they are about to enter most are thrilled and delighted with the news. Visions of cuddling a new baby, reading storybooks together, and playing in the park will surely bring a smile to the faces of potential grandparents. By the time that the baby arrives, most grandparents have an idea about what they would like to be called by the newest family member.

Ready or Not!

Sometimes, impending grandparenthood makes otherwise contented people feel a bit old and out of sorts. For these folks, the idea of being called Grandmother or Grandfather only adds to their discontent. In some families, silly or non-traditional names are chosen, which may sit better with reluctant grandparents. Although many people may balk a bit at the idea of becoming grandparents, that first look at a sweet new grandchild almost always makes the reservations disappear.

Keeping with Tradition

In many families, grandparents are referred to by the same names, generation after generation. Traditional choices such as Grandma & Grandpa or Nana & Papa are commonplace, as are names that reflect the family's heritage. In families with strong connections to their ethnic background, grandparents may choose names originating in another language, or shortened versions of those names.

Although there are countless names with assorted origins, some of the most common include:

  • Grandmother & Grandfather
  • Oma & Opa (German)
  • Grand-mere & Grand-pere (French)
  • Gigia & Papous (Greek)
  • Nonna & Nonno (Italian)
  • Nagyanya & Nagyapa (Hungarian)
  • Babcia & Dziadzia (Polish)
  • Babushka & Dedushka (Russian)
  • Seanathair & Daideo (Irish)
  • Nainai & YeYe (Chinese)
  • Oba-chan & Oji-chan (Chinese)
  • Halmoni & Halaboji (Korean)
  • Grootmeider & Grootvader (Dutch)
  • Abuela & Abuelo (Spanish)
  • Bestefar & Bestemor (Norwegian)
  • Tutu-wahini & Tutu-kane (Hawaiian)

Informal Families

Today's families are often less formal than was typical a few generations ago. It is becoming increasingly common for grandchildren to call their grandparents their actual names coupled with traditional grandparent monikers. For example, Nana Mary and Papa George, or Grandma and Grandpa Hall. This method can also help grandchildren to easily differentiate their sets of grandparents.

Keeping an Open Mind

While most potential grandparents have ideas about what they would like to be called by their grandchildren, once those children arrive and begin to talk, the grandparents may end up with different names than those that they had envisioned. Oftentimes, this is because the first grandchild may initially mispronounce the chosen names, coming up with something close, but not quite what the grandparents had in mind. In other cases, the grandkids invent their own pet names that are entirely unique. Frequently, these names are even cuter than the originals and stick throughout the years and many future grandchildren.

For most grandparents, the feeling of a grandchild calling your name is such a joy that the actual name quickly becomes a secondary matter.

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