There is no shortage of lists and blog posts dedicated to baby name ideas, thankfully, because choosing a baby name can be difficult! A person’s name is part of their identity and can influence their entire life. No pressure, of course.
So when scouring the endless lists of names, how do you decide if one is better than the other? Why do some “pop out” more than other seemingly fine names?
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a baby name that is “right” for you:
1. Say it with the rest of the name
I’ve found that most people have a middle name chosen before a first name, usually because it’s a family name. If you haven’t chosen a middle name and are having the hardest time choosing a first name, maybe start with the middle. Once you’ve decided on a middle name, go through lists of names again, saying each one with the middle and last name, and hopefully this will help narrow it down.
2. Categorize to Find Potential Names
Many people research the origin or meaning of their names, either out of curiosity or because they were named deliberately after something meaningful. If you’re struggling to choose a name, perhaps refine your search by category. You could search for names that have a particular meaning that is special to you. They could be related to a particular characteristic, such as “grace” or “strength,” or perhaps related to something special to you, like “autumn” or “ocean.” Naming babies after special places is also common, so perhaps a special city or state would make the perfect name, such as, “Boston” or “Carolina.”
3. Consider how it will affect them
Inventive and unique names can be fun, but consider the challenges your child might face and if they are significant enough to reconsider. We’ve all seen funny news headlines or jokes on the internet about people with funny names, but we must remember that a parent chose that name for that person. Will the pronunciation be difficult for others? Will your child’s self-esteem be affected by other children or people mocking their name? Of course we should not make decisions assuming poor behavior from others, but if you do not have a name of significance in mind, consider choosing a name that won’t make life harder for your child.
4. Hit the Books
I always love a good classic name from the pages of a classic book, or even a children’s book! My own daughter is named Olivia, and as soon as she discovered books she fell in love with the “Olivia the Pig” series. Encouraging reading by association to a character is never a bad idea, so if there’s a book or character you love, you may get all the feels when you start reading it again as part of your baby name search.
What tips would you give parents trying to choose a baby name?