What Do You Call The Grandparents?


What do your children call their Grandparents? It seems that parents in the English-speaking world are uniformly called Mum/Mom or Dad, but when it comes to grandparents, there seem to be no hard and fast rules.

Maybe you use a name that runs in the family, or maybe your child came up with something that stuck?

When we were growing up we had a ‘Nana and Pop’ and a ‘Nana and Grandad’. We used to call our Nanas ‘ Big Nana’ and ‘Little Nana’ to differentiate between them. Big Nana was pretty tall but not especially big, it’s just that Little Nana was tiny, barely 5 feet tall. I’m not sure how the male grandparents got their names, I can’t remember if we children named them or we were told what to call them.

When I first had a baby, many things surprised me. One of these was that my children’s grandparents, especially the female ones, had very definite ideas about what they wanted to be called. I had a vague idea that my kids would call them both Nana *something* but no, they weren’t having any of it.

DH’s mother wanted to be called Nanan,  my mother wanted to be called Gran. And so it was. I have to say having separate names does make things much easier because everyone knows exactly who you are talking about.

My father died many years ago, and if we talk about him we tend to refer to him by his first name.  DH’s father is quite happy being called Grandad, I think we suggested this and he didn’t mind.

Our family is slightly complicated because each of  our children’s blood related grandparents also has a non-blood related partner. Despite DH and I not minding if they wanted to use a grandparent name, we’ve just ended up by referring to them all by their first names.

But it doesn’t matter to the kids, in their minds the step grandparents are just as important as the ‘real’ grandparents when it comes to attention, hugs and of course, presents.

11 comments on “What Do You Call The Grandparents?

  1. Mine call my mum ‘mama’ and they call MIL ‘Lola’ (means grandma in Tagalog)
    It was quite tricky to choose a name for my mum to begin with, because historically all the my cousins kids called the aunties have been called Mama X. I then said that only my mum would be called Mama by my kids and everyone else can be called Lola X. At the time, my mum frowned at this but over time has come to appreciate that she has a special identity/name to my kids.

  2. Ours are the usual mixture of grandma/grandad/grampy, with the exception of my mum who is ‘normal grandma’ because she was the one who *normally* came to visit us when The Boy was younger (other grandma less involved!).

  3. Mine are Granma and Granpa and C’s are Grandma V and Grandpa T – purely because they see mine way more often.

    I had a Nana and Granda Bill, and a Granny Elsie and Granda Jim.


  4. I had a nanny and grandad and a nanny and grandad u. Mine have a grandma & gramps and a grandad, and used to have a nanna. My mum was very keen to have a unique name when my brother’s children were born and my niece did call my dad dumps for a while which was very endearing. I like a name each but “gramps” and “nanna” (rather than nana) don’t make card buying easy!

  5. Grandma (first name) and Grandad (first name) for both of them. When my mum died and my Dad got remarried, it would have felt wrong – for her as well as us. So she is just first name.

  6. Grandma and Zaida (which is Yiddish for grandpa). I called my mum’s mum grandma, but my (non-Jewish, as my mum’s brother married out of the religion) called her Booba, which is Yiddish for grandma. Very weird that!

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