Naming your child is one of the most exciting and most daunting tasks of preparing to be a parent. Your child’s name is what will represent them through their whole lives. It can be a source of pride or a source of pain, depending on associations that others relate to it. Here are some precautions to be aware of when choosing baby names. Keeping these things in mind will help you to avoid any hidden pitfalls that a name may bring.
1. Nickname traps
You have probably already mixed and matched potential first names with your child’s last name, but have you thought about potential nicknames as well? There are a lot of names, like Elizabeth or James, that are more commonly shortened, and it is important to check if these nicknames flow with the last name as well. Charles Puck may seem like a respectable name, but Chuck Puck might not sound so good. Make sure to consider common nicknames as well as the original name to avoid future embarrassment for your child.
2. Cringe-worthy initials
Another important factor to take into consideration is your child’s initials. A good test is to think of monograms with your child’s first, middle, and last initial. You might think Gabriel Andrew Smith is a great choice, until you see his initials and have flashes of your child wearing a monogramed backback with GAS in beautiful cursive letters.
3. Constant corrections
There are benefits and downsides to choosing lesser-known names. The upside is that your child will have a name that is unique and you do not have to worry about there being more than one in their class or group of friends. The downside is that names that are one-of-a-kind are often mispronounced or misspelled. This can be a nuisance and a burden to your child and should be taken into consideration when thinking of names for your little one. If you are curious to see how people will pronounce a certain name, test it out first with a few friends or family members to see how they say it and then determine your decision based off whether they have a difficult time or not.
4. Too-popular baby names
It is important to consult websites that list the most popular baby names by year to see if your name is ranked high. If you give your child a name that is too popular, it might cause him or her grief because they can constantly be confused with peers that have the same name. This also can create situations in classrooms where they are referred to with their first name and last initial, making them feel less special.
5. Future email abbreviations
Thinking about your child’s name in future situations, beyond elementary school, is just as important. Imagine them getting their email at college or on the first day at their new job, which is usually a standard formula of their first initial and last name. Frank Atkins is a perfectly respectable name, but abbreviated for a work email email@example.com is much less so.
6. Problematic sibling name parings
If your new baby has a older sibling, it is important to say both their names together out loud. If you have a boy named Sam and want to name your daughter Ella, both names are fine on their own, but try saying them together. Telling Sam and Ella to come to dinner sounds a bit like you are inviting a food-borne illness. You will be saying your children’s names together a lot and it is important to check all the possible combinations before you settle on a name for your newborn.
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