Congratulations! You’ve picked out the perfect name. Or have you?
Choosing your baby’s name is exhilarating — and hard. No one wants their child to be counting down the days until they’re old enough to legally change their name. While there’s no way to guarantee your child will love the name you select, you can up the odds by checking prospective baby names for hidden flaws.
Look for a Smooth Sound
Say the name you’ve picked out loud a few times, checking for something What to Expect calls “cadence.” Does the name feel good on your lips, or is it a tongue twister? You’re going to be repeating it over and over again; make sure you can say your child’s name without tripping over the syllables.
You can insist all you want that your child will be called by their formal name, but someone is eventually going to use a nickname. It may even be your child who expresses a preference for a diminutive of their name. Consider possible nicknames for the name you’ve picked and make sure you can live with them.
Think About First Impressions
Reflect on the impression the name you’ve chosen creates. As WebMD points out, names often carry preconceived ideas about their owners. When people hear the name you’ve picked, what do they expect the owner to be like? Male or female? Bubbly or athletic? Smart or sassy? Shy or the life of the party? Is the association so strong that your child will be uncomfortable if their personality doesn’t match their name’s?
Remember all the forms you’ve had to fill out during the course of your lifetime. Now, consider the name’s length. Your child won’t thank you for making them cram a too-long name into those stupid little boxes on official paperwork.
Test for Teasing
Sure, some teasing is unavoidable. But, there’s no reason to set your child up to be tormented. Make sure the initials of the name you’ve chosen don’t spell anything inappropriate. Play the old rhyming game with the name and check for blatant problems. Think like a bully and see if anything about the name is too easy to mock.
Don’t Forget Spelling
Some people like having a distinctive spelling for their name. Sareh, a writer for The Bump, acknowledges that the unusual spelling of her traditional name brings the occasional annoyances, but she says that she likes being unique. Others hate having to continually spell their names or correct people who mispronounce them. Of course, using the regular spelling of a name doesn’t always prevent issues like these. After a television show popularized a trendy spelling of my daughter’s name, she spent most of elementary school assuring people that she really did know how to spell her own name. She learned to tell them she used the classical spelling.
Try it Out
While some people are superstitious about announcing a baby’s name before he or she is born, the reaction of a few trusted friends can be an invaluable tool when it comes to testing out your baby name. Even if you are uncomfortable putting your intended name out for public consumption, consider talking privately with a few close friends who you trust to be honest with you.
Choosing a name for your little one isn’t easy. Many parents-to-be spend months making lists, suggesting possibilities, and then vetoing them as they search for the perfect name. Before getting too attached to a name, take the time to test if for flaws. It may be frustrating, but your child will appreciate your efforts.
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