All About Choosing Names for Grandparents and Grandchildren

What to Call Grandparents Is an Important Decision for Many

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Fourth + Hazel Photography / Getty Images

New grandparents face an important decision: choosing their grandparent names. Thanks to the diversity of our world, grandparents have a lot of choices. They are no longer limited to the traditional names like Grannie and Grandpa. Of course, the topic of names for grandparents also sparks occasional conflicts, but those can be settled with a little creativity and flexibility.

When a grandchild is born, a different name game comes into play. Of course, grandparents seldom get to choose names for...MORE their grandchildren, but they are hardly neutral parties. Generally, they will find that whatever name is chosen for their grandchild will end up being music to their ears.

  • 01 of 09
    Modern grandmothers have a wide choice of grandmother names.
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    Choosing a grandparent name is a more complicated task than it might seem. Learn the answers to questions such as whether parents get to choose the grandparents' names and whether grandparents can change their minds about their chosen names. Also find out whether two grandparents can choose the same name and whether step-grandparents are entitled to their own grandparent names.

  • 02 of 09
    grandmother and grandbaby
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    Grandmothers will be the first to tell you: Most of them agonized over choosing a grandmother name. The good news is that there are more choices now than ever. Grandmothers-to-be can select a traditional name, a cool, modern name or a name reflecting a culture or ethnicity. If you have just received the joyful news and need a grandmother name, here's your starting point. 

  • 03 of 09
    GrandfatherGrandchildChrisRyanOJO.jpg
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    Grandfathers tend to be a little less concerned about their grandparent names than most grandmothers are. Grandfathers often take the path of least resistance and choose a traditional name. But since they will have the name for a very long time, and since it will be used frequently by little creatures very precious to them, even grandfathers should consider all the possibilities. Here's a good starting place.

  • 04 of 09
    TwoGrandmothers.jpg
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    So you've found the perfect grandparent name, only to discover that another member of the family objects to your choice. What to do? What if you and the other grandmother are dead set on the same name? Find suggestions for solving these and other grandparent name conflicts, because you can't let a name interfere with your game.

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  • 05 of 09
    grandmother and granddaughter
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    Sometimes grandparents-to-be go through a laborious process of name-choosing, only to have a grandchild choose something entirely different. Sometimes the name results from a grandchild's attempt to pronounce the grandparent's chosen name. Sometimes the nicknames seem to be chosen at random. But who really knows what goes on in a grandchild's inventive brain?

  • 06 of 09
    Grandson Confiding in Grandfather
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    If you want a grandparent name that's uniquely your own, you may find inspiration in these stories gathered from readers and from other sources. Some of these unusual names were invented by grandparents, some were bestowed by grandchildren and some just sort of evolved. Don't miss learning about Bubba and Bama.

  • 07 of 09
    A newborn grandchild will soon grow into his or her name.
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    Grandparents who are eagerly awaiting a new grandchild may worry about the name that will be chosen for the precious bundle. If asked about their preference, they shouldn't lie but should phrase their answers carefully. Names, thank goodness, have a way of growing on us. And almost always a grandchild's name ends up being a very minor note in a symphony of love.

  • 08 of 09
    Grandchildren may be named after grandparents.
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     In many countries in the world, children are traditionally named after grandparents. Even in these cultures, however, the traditions may be altered a bit to give children unique names. In more modern families, children are often given the first or last name of a grandparent for a middle name. Grandparents should never take it personally if their name is not selected for a grandchild, as there may be many factors at play.

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  • 09 of 09
    grandparents guide to choosing a name
    Courtesy of Amazon.com

    Need more help in choosing your grandparent name? These books can provide a wealth of ideas. Some are more serious than others, and some offer extras in addition to lists of names. Read the descriptions to find the one that's right for you, or pick up a copy for a friend who is approaching grandparenthood.

Some say that names aren't that important, and that is true to a certain extent. What is important is the family dynamics that surround the naming process. When choosing your own grandparent name, you should allow other interested parties to have input and strive for flexibility. When a grandchild's name is being chosen, stay cool. I've never known any grandparents who hated a grandchild's name once they got to know the grandchild!