Becoming a grandma is a big deal. It’s a rite of passage in a mother’s life. As the next generation begins the parenting journey, she gets to sit back and enjoy being a grandma. Grandmas enjoy the luxury of getting to know the newest member of the family without having to endure the sleepless nights and daily parenting tasks.
And as she is promoted from mother to grandma, she’ll have a new job title as well as a new baby to cuddle. Grandma names (just like grandfather names, or even baby names) are a big deal too. These days, there are so many to choose from.
No two grandmas are alike. Not all grannies fit into the big-bosomed stereotype of baking and slippers and gardening. Often grandma and grandpa names are passed down through the generations, so your mother might want to use the same name her mother did when she became a grandma. Some grandmas-to-be, however, will be dead set against anything that makes them sound old.
Grandparents now live longer after retirement, and many are in good health during these years, and regularly help out with childcare to allow parents to return to work.
Many modern grandparents run around after toddlers in the park, pick kids up from school, and help to ease the burden of family life for busy working parents. They definitely deserve a special name of their own.
According to the 2018 Grandparents Today National Survey in the United States, by 65 years of age, 96% of parents were also grandparents. On average, their first grandchild arrived when they were 50.
Most grandchildren still refer to their grandparents by traditional names. Around 70% choose to use a form of ‘Grandma’ and 60% use a form of ‘Grandpa’. One in twenty grandparents are referred to by their first name.
Other Names for Grandma
Granny, Grandma and Gran are all traditional names for grandma. And if she isn’t keen on those, she might prefer Nanny, Nanna or Nan.
These grandmother names were most likely inspired by other languages, such as Welsh and Italian, and were once considered a modern take on the traditional matriarchal names. Or there’s Yia Yia (pronounced ya-ya), which is Greek for grandmother.
A couple of generations ago, there wasn’t much choice about grandma names but, today, families have plenty of options to choose from. You don’t need to be limited by tradition.
There are plenty of unusual and exciting names out there for grandma.
Remember, there are no rules, you can choose whatever name you want.
Sassy Grandma Names
If your grandma is more likely to be found sipping cocktails than knitting granny squares, she might prefer a sassier grandma name.
Does she feel young at heart, and refuse to see herself as a typical granny? Then pick a name more suited to her personality.
If granny and nanna sound stuffy and old to her, she might be happier with a more modern and less traditional sounding name. So, what can you call grandma? Mimi, Oma (Dutch for grandmother) and Neena are all fun-sounding names that hint at a young, vibrant grandma.
You should try to find a name that really suits her. Something that pays homage to the kind of woman she is. If your Granny was formal and proper, you might find it hard to associate this name with your cuddly, fun mother. That’s fine. Shed the traditional granny names and go for something completely new.
Cute Grandma Names
Some of the cutest sounding grandmother names are initiated by the grandchildren. As they learn to speak, they might mispronounce names and these inevitably end up becoming what the grandchildren call their grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa become Gama and Grandy, for example.
Mawmaw is another cute name that has a nice ring to it, and it’s easy for young children to pronounce. If you’re looking at cutesy names, make sure they have longevity. Babies and toddlers soon turn into teenagers and young adults, so be sure you pick a name that will last through the years, without the family feeling embarrassed saying it aloud.
Cool Grandma Names
Gigi is commonly used in Ukraine, and is now gaining popularity around the world. It sounds fun and different, making it an ideal option for a cool grandma. This name is often chosen by grandmas who aren’t quite ready to accept that they are in the ‘grandma’ stage of life (and who can blame them).
Marmee is another popular name which doesn’t sound too stuffy. It’s a term of affection that sounds loving, but isn’t associated with the outdated stereotypes of what grandparenting looks like.
Different Names for Grandma
Gramms is a new take on Grandma, giving it a cool edge but without losing the traditional connotations of a loving grandma. Many people choose to take inspiration from their heritage, and opt for names inspired by their family’s mother tongue.
You can also find inspiration in grandma’s first name. For example, Barbara could become Be-be or Granny B. Fran could be Nanny Frannie. Charlotte could become Lotlot.
Irish Names for Grandma
If you or your partner have Irish blood, you might be looking for a name that gives a nod to your heritage. If you don’t live in Ireland, it might be a particularly special way to connect your children with their Irish roots. Irish grandmas are usually referred to as Maimeó (pronounced Mam-o) or Móraí (pronounced Mo-rye).
Italian Names for Grandma
If you’re looking for European inspiration to give a hint of style, look no further than Italy. If you have Italian roots, you might like to use an Italian nickname to give your child a connection with your family’s Italian past (not to be confused with pasta, which is delicious but altogether different).
One of the most popular Italian names for grandma is Nonna which is easy for little mouths to master. Another popular Italian name is Anonn, pronounced ah-nun, which sounds just as lovely.
Trendy Names for Grandma
Trends change, and grandmother names fall in and out of fashion. While Granny could be seen as a traditional (some might say old-fashioned) term at the moment, more modern names might not age well. For this reason, it’s important to choose a name you love, rather than one that seems to be popular.
If you’ve chosen a name you are happy with, it doesn’t matter if it falls out of fashion. So push all the trends out of your mind and just focus on finding a name you all love. You’ll be using it for years to come, so choose something that brings you joy.
Alternative Names for Grandma
As you can see, there are plenty of alternative grandma names. There are no rules when it comes to terms of endearment, so you can choose whatever name you want. Find out whether the grandma-to-be in your family has a list of preferred names and then see if you can agree on one. Remember, you don’t have to stick to predictable names; it’s fine to do some blue sky thinking to find the perfect name.
Choosing The Perfect Grandma Name
It might be easier to choose grandmother names together. If there is another grandparent in the picture, you might want to go for names that pair well together, like Grammie and Gramps or Mawmaw and Pawpaw. Speak to the grandparents and encourage them to come up with a shortlist of grandparent names they love.
Get even more grandparent naming inspiration in our article to help you choose grandparents’ names.