Choosing the right name for your child can seem daunting these days. Think about the endless choices to sift through, the plethora of information on the importance of names and the eclectic baby names in Hollywood and on the Internet. How can you tell if a name is too popular or not mainstream enough, wonderfully creative or just plain weird? How can you find the name that is perfect for you and your baby?
- Aim to fall in love with a name. Remember swooning the first time you heard your baby’s heartbeat? That’s the kind of emotional reaction you should go for with a name!
- Don’t pay too much attention to what other people think. Everyone’s going to ask which names you’re considering— and then they are going to do their best to convince you that those names are ridiculous choices. The problem is, these people are only giving their opinions. Talk about naming if you’d like, and then tune out all those other opinions and make the big decision with your partner.
- Remember it’s more about your child than about you. It’s important to keep in mind that your child is the one who’s going to live with your name choice— not just when he’s a baby, but on the playground, in the high school cafeteria and on job interviews.
- Realize that names have changed in meaning and popularity since your days on the playground. Many names that would have been considered strange or that would have gotten you teased are now completely normal. Interchangeable names for boys and girls? Totally standard. Ethnic names? Found in the most all-American towns. Unconventional spellings and invented names? Heard in every classroom.
- Expand your view of creativity. Inventing a name or varying the spelling is great if that’s your style, but there are a lot of different ways to be creative. Try a fresh international twist on a familiar name. Consider names you never knew existed.
- Look for a name with meaning. A name’s meaning these days extends far beyond the original “spear carrier” or “God is gracious.” You’ll want to consider what a name means in terms of your family history, individual experience and personal style. Can you find a name that relates to your family tree? Your ethnic background? For a name that connects deeply on several levels will resonate for both you and your child.
- Do your own research. Hang out in your local playground or read birth announcements to familiarize yourself with naming trends in your neighborhood. Investigate the most current popularity lists at www.ssa.gov and check out various baby naming bulletin boards.
Have fun. Yes, choosing a name is a serious, long-term decision, but it can and should be fun. There’s so much that’s out of your control about becoming a parent; you should enjoy this one aspect entirely.