Modern grandparents are reinventing their images

“What’s in a name?” Apparently a lot.

And though Shakespeare’s conjecture as relayed through Juliet makes for a beautiful tragedy in blank verse, times have changed. Names mean a great deal, and not just for the child. Every 20 seconds a new grandparent is born. And that means that three times per minute a giddy grown-up who has already raised his or her child responsibly gets a do-over. And this time it’s for fun.

As it turns out, in the 21st century, new parents aren’t the only ones anguishing over names. Okay, maybe anguish is a strong word, but grandparents are spending a considerable amount of time deciding not only what role they will play in their grandchildren’s lives, but what they want their little genealogical prodigies to call them.

Don’t believe me? Just Google “grandparent names.” This reporter got over 72 million results in .65 seconds about the who, what, where, when, why and how of what grandchildren call their grandparents and who is deciding what that will be. It shouldn’t be all that shocking considering grandparents have been upping their significance ante for some time now. Thirty years ago, the U.S. government decided to honor the bond between grandparents and grandchildren. They chose the first Sunday after Labor Day and proclaimed it, National Grandparents Day.

So, what are modern grandparents called these days?

The American Grandparents Association and have dedicated 19 separate articles on their site alone to the topic. Then there’s,, and Even Southern Living has an article on their site titled Our Favorite Southern Grandma Names. And as usual, the southerners bring home the gold for endearment. Who could pass up being called Bunny, Darling, GaGa, Gam Gam, Lovie, Moo or ‘Suga?

Then there are a plethora of books for sale on to help a perplexed patriarch in naming themselves. Easy reads like The Big Book of Grandparents’ Names by Jeanmarie O’Keefe Moore, Don’t Call Me Grandma: A New Generation Grandparent Name Book by Linda Reynolds and Nicole Nixon and You Can Call Me Hoppa! The Grandparents’ Guide to Choosing a Name that Fits by Lauren Charpio.

According to, the following are the most popular grandparent names. For grandma, we have Nana, Grammy, Granny, Mimi, Gram, Nanny, Oma, Mamaw and Gran. For grandpa, there’s Papa, Granddad, Gramps, Pop-Pop, Poppy, Papaw, Pop, Opa and Pappy.