Naming a baby may be easier for today’s parents than for previous generations. There are a lot more names to choose from, and a growing body of research that suggests there are rarely any serious consequences whether you prefer Mary or Moonbeam.
Until about 1800, half of all English men had the same four first names, according to the BBC. While you’re probably happy to have more options than that, you may be wondering how your baby’s name could affect his or her future. In that case you’ll be relieved to know that names now seem to have little effect on a child’s grades or future prospects. Maybe that’s because unusual names have become so common they’re no longer very unusual.
Naming your baby is a big decision, but you can have fun with the process. Take a look at these ideas for dreaming up some names you and your child will love.
General Principles for Naming Your Baby
Do your research. Baby naming books and websites are springing up all around. Check out various lists for ideas, and discover the meanings behind various names.
Take a poll. Ask your family and friends what they think. You’re better off receiving feedback early on when it’s easier to change your mind.
Say it out loud. First impressions are often based on hearing a name rather than reading it. Ensure your choice sounds pleasing to the ear. Try it out in combination with the middle and last names it will be tied to.
Consider variations. Nicknames and initials are two other factors to consider. Watch out for any alterations or letters that could accidentally cause embarrassment.
Keep it simple. Unique spellings can seem clever. Then again, imagine how much time your child will spend over a lifetime trying to explain their name on the phone or correcting it on employment forms.
Create a short list. It’s okay to wait until your baby arrives before reaching a final decision. One look at their beautiful face may make it obvious which of your favorites suits them or you may wind up with a whole new idea.
Tell a story. The important thing is to let your child know they’re loved. Be ready to tell them someday about how their parents figured out what to call them.
Practical Approaches for Naming Your Baby
- Honor your family. A name can pay tribute to a loved one and acknowledge family bonds. Give your baby a relative’s first name or surname, or maybe just their initials.
- Check what’s popular. There’s no need to pass on a name just because a lot of other parents like it too.
Choose a classic. On the other hand, maybe you appreciate the distinctive sound and rich traditions behind an old-fashioned baby name like Mabel or Rufus.
Evaluate trends. Research from Columbia Business School found that current baby naming trends include social media, celestial themes, and royal birth announcements. Keep in mind that the hotter the trend, the faster it tends to fade, so you may want to opt for more staying power.
The bottom line when it comes to naming your baby is picking a name you love that suits your family. Ultimately, your child will decide whether they want to keep it or call themselves something else. In any case, you can feel good about the thought you put into expressing your love.