What's in a Name?

Posted on 5/23/2013 by Josh Hoffman

Naming your child is a very important task when you're expecting. Here are some fun tips to help you choose the perfect name for your new little one!

Naming your child is one of your first acts as a parent and one that stays with them for the rest of their life. Every generation gives rise to its favorite names.  In addition to the names themselves, nicknames and multiple spellings of popular names are also way of asserting a child's uniqueness. In addition to the top ten baby names, there are also trends such as old English names inspired by television show Downtown Abbey.  And believe me, nobody will let you forget about the family names. So how's a parent to decide?

I recommend creating two spreadsheets, one for each parent.  In the first column, list any name you like for first names.  In the second, list any name you'd like for a middle name.  In the last column, list the child's last name just to see how it all fits together. Highlight any names that you would want only for middle names. For example, my sons' middle names are Rowland and Orion. I liked both names but not as first names. Once you've each created your lists, compare them to find any similarities and to eliminate names either parent strongly dislikes. My first son was due during the 1998 Stanley Cup and I had the name Jaromir (after player Jaromir Jagr) on my list of boy's names. Needless to say, it didn't make the first cut.

Nicknames are huge!  After you've narrowed down the lists a bit, run through the possible nicknames.  William becomes Will, Willy, Bill, Billy, and Liam.  I was fond of the name Margaret, especially the nickname Maggie, but with a rhyming last name, it didn't make the cut for girl's names as my husband found it to be too singsong.

Spellings can be a stumbling block when a child gets to school. Unique spellings such as Maleigh, an old Irish spelling of Molly, can be prone to mispronunciation. At the same time, it can be wonderful way to teach your child why you chose their name.

Remember that one day, your child is going to ask you why you picked their name.  Formulate your answer during this process.  You may even want to write down the 'finalist' names that don't quite make the cut. It can be a fun conversation to have with your child, telling them why you picked one name over another.




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