Grandmothers today have more choices than ever when it comes to picking a name. They can stick with the traditional or choose a name that’s associated with a particular ethnicity or nationality. They can choose a more hip grandmother name or even make up their own name.
It’s good to get the approval of the parents-to-be, of course. Sometimes a grandchild can prove to be a dissenting voice, choosing a name that’s quite different from the one you selected — usually because they can’t pronounce the chosen name and end up saying a variation that everybody loves. That’s almost always all right with the grandmother!
According to a survey of 1,500 people across the U.S., “Nana” is the most popular nickname for grandmas. This map shows the most popular nicknames, excluding Grandma, in every state. In the survey, there were over 35 different names including Nonna (Italian), Yiayla (Greek), Lola (Filipino) and Tata (Polish.)
Today, there are hundreds of names for grandmothers to choose from beyond the typical grandma names like Grandma and Granny. Modern grandma names are creative choices that reflect style, personality, and identity.
How to Pick Your Grandma Name
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a grandma name. Would you prefer a traditional grandma name or a modern grandma name — i.e. should it sound like a grandma name or not? What’s your grandma personality, and do you want your grandma name to reflect that? Do you want a grandma name with ties to your cultural identity?
Young children have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds — because of this, some grandma names take on lives of their own. A child who can’t pronounce “Sweetie” may end up using “Cece” instead.
Grandma names that are low-risk for evolving are vowel-heavy and use consonants that develop early, like B, M, P, D, T, N, and G — think Nana, Mimi, Dottie, or Boo. L and R are slower-developing consonants, so names with those letters may be more likely to be mispronounced by your grandchild.
My grandma name is “Baba.” My oldest grandchild started calling me that when she was one year old because she couldn’t say “Bubbe.” She’s now 20 years old and the name has stuck.
I recently asked grandmas on my Instagram account to tell me what their grandchildren call them. Over 35 grandmas shared their unique names. What’s your grandma name?