Parents Room

Choosing a name for your baby.

Apart from life itself, a name is perhaps the most precious thing you will give to your baby. Sociologists, baby experts and teachers agree that your child’s name impacts on his or her personality, baby’s ability to interact with his or her peers, and how he or she is seen by total strangers. Here are a few things you should take into account when choosing your baby’s name.

Uniqueness: The current fashion is to give baby an unusual name or a traditional name with different spelling so that she stands out from the crowd. A friend has a daughter called Emily. At school there are 2 other Emilys in the class, so she is known as Emily T. It was a year before the little girl understood that her name was Emily and not Emily T! So it is easy to understand the temptation to go for a name that’s different.

However, there can be problems too: the name will be misspelled and mispronounced. “My name is Elvira, but children and teachers would make it Elmira, Olivia, Alvera …I soon learned to come to whatever sounded like my name”, said Elvira Bates. “Only my mother and husband get it right!”.

Sound and Compatibility: Someone suggested that, before you finally decide on a name, you go into the garden and shout the name five times to see how it sounds! A bit drastic maybe, but it is important to ensure the name sounds right.

General advice is to avoid a name that ends in a vowel if the last name starts with a vowel – the names tend to run together. Also, if the surname is long, choose a short first name, or vice versa.

And please avoid the puns. I once worked with a girl called Hazel Nutt! Fortunately she had a strong personality and coped with the laughter and jokes, but many in her position could have developed a complex about the name.

Once, when I was in hospital, there was a nurse with the name Rosie Bottom! (If you are reading this in the USA, Canada, or anywhere but in the UK, you may be wondering why that should be amusing – well, it translates as ‘Rosie Butt’!) Of course the patients found the name amusing and I suppose anything that cheers up the patients has to be beneficial, but what were her parents thinking of when they named her?

Initials: Obvious really, except some people miss this one. Spell out the initials of the first, middle and last names to see if that makes a word.

Finally, consider whether the name suits a grown-up as well as a child.

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