Choosing Your Grandparent Name

By Taryn Tacher

It is said that bringing a child into the world is the greatest moment of your life — a moment so overwhelmingly emotional that only one other milestone can top it: welcoming your first grandchild. Witnessing your baby, who you birthed, raised, loved and let flourish, follow in your footsteps by becoming a parent is a whole other level of joy — one you did not even realize was possible until you experienced the bliss of new parenthood through the eyes of your own child. With grandparenthood comes a significantly different experience. You are able to enjoy the cuddles, the giggles and the highlights without having to endure the diaper changes and the sleepless nights — and then there’s that “grand” title that goes along with it. Once that baby starts talking, you will be addressed by yet another name.

Some people prefer the traditional grandma or grandpa, while others opt for the more formal grandmother or grandfather. Some people choose the term for grandparent in their native language, like abuela or abuelo in Spanish, or nonna or nonno in Italian. Some people like nana or papa — even grammy or granny for grandmothers and poppy or gramps for grandfathers. And some people let their grandchildren select a name that rolls off their tongues as they learn to speak.

Local grandparents Linda and Dennis Rocha opted for the typical Grandma and the not-so-typical DooDah for their grandparent names.

Linda says she did not have a close relationship with her grandmother on her father’s side, whom she called Nanny. Her mother’s mother passed away before she was born, and it saddened her mother that they never got to meet.

“She always told me how warm she was and that she would have been such a loving grandmother,” said Linda. “So I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a grandma, not a nanny or nana.” Dennis arrived at DooDah after he heard it in a movie two years before he became a grandfather.

“He said that someday he wanted his grandchildren to get that look in their eye and call him DooDah,” said Linda, “and… they do!”

If you’re having trouble picking your grandparent name, think about your relationship with your own grandparents. Were you close? Were they warm and endearing? Do you aspire to have a similar relationship with your own grandchildren? Think about your personality and your character. Are you conventional or creative? Usual or unique? What type of grandparent do you envision yourself being?

Whether you choose a classic moniker like Linda or a unique one like Dennis, grandparenthood will undoubtedly be some of the best years of your life.


  • Ukrainian: Baba and Gigi

  • Greek: Yaya and Pappoús

  • Hebrew: Savta and Saba

  • French: Mémé and Pépé

  • German/Dutch: Oma and Opa

  • Flemish: Bomma and Bonpa

  • Cajun: Mawmaw and Pawpaw

  • Icelandic: Amma and Afi

  • Filipino: Lola and Lolo

  • Hawaiian: Kuku and Kane