Picking a baby name is a tough task! Your partner may loathe the names you love, which may lead to an agreement on a name that you only both kind of like. You may face ridicule from family and friends. You may have a list of 10 favorites that you just can’t narrow down. Whatever naming challenges you face, here are some tips and tricks for choosing the best name for your baby boy or girl.
A Look At The Top Ten
Each year, the Social Security Administration publishes a list of the top 1,000 baby names in the United States. In 2013 and 2014, Sophia was the top girls’ name choice and was used 21,075 times. The top boys’ name in 2013 was Noah, which 18,090 little boys were dubbed, but it fell to 5th in 2014. While Isabella moved down on the list, Olivia grew steadfast into the number 3 position. Top ten boys’ names on the rise include Liam, Aiden, and Jackson.
Although parents can’t go wrong when choosing a top ten name for their baby, some couples won’t even consider a name that is so popular. Parents who are looking for less common but not unheard of names, may want to start at the bottom of the top 100 and work their way up. If you seek an even less popular name, go backwards through the list of the top 1,000. Here is the full list of the top 10 if you’re interested.
Top 10 baby names for boys in 2014:
Top 10 baby names for girls in 2014:
Shows and Movies
Television and motion pictures have been influencing baby names for decades. Although already popular, after the Twilight series was released, Isabella and Jacob saw an even more dramatic increase in popularity. A name that declined in popularity from 1996 to 1997, Rose from Titanic jumped by almost 100 points in the year after the movie was released. With the popularity of the children’s movie Frozen, it’s no surprise that the name Elsa is on the rise, as are the names of her co-stars, Olaf and Kristoff.
Netflix’s Orange is the New Black has influenced baby names. After the release of this show, the United States saw a rise in character names, including Piper and Galina. Parents are also looking to Game of Thrones for baby name inspiration. Top choices include Arya and Oliver.
Classic movies also play a role in choosing baby names. Romantics may wish to name their daughters Scarlett after Vivien Leigh’s character in Gone with the Wind. Dreamers may choose Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
If you’ve fallen in love with some of the most popular movies and TV shows but dread sending your child to school where he will be one of five with the same name, consider naming him after secondary characters. Is Twilight a favorite? Consider the names Carlisle and Esme. If Hunger Games is right up your alley, consider Katniss, which has yet to break into the top 1,000 names.
Sometimes parents fall in love with a name for their baby but due to an unfortunate surname combination, the name cannot be used. Couples whose last name is Case may want to think twice before naming their son Justin (just in case). Likewise, couples whose last name is Lee may want to stay away from Brock (broccoli). To see how your future child’s first name sounds with your last name, open the back door and pretend to be calling the child into dinner. Hearing the first and last name used together may help you choose the best name for your child that goes well with your last name.
Most children are given a first name, middle name and last name. As a parent, it is your job to make sure the initials don’t spell anything inappropriate. If your last name is Morris, you’d probably be safe naming your baby Amanda Taylor, giving the initials A.T.M. Although an ATM is a machine that gives money, there is nothing glaringly wrong with these initials. However, if your last name is Everett, you may want to avoid Peter Elias because his initials would be P.E.E. Remember that other kids on the playground can be cruel.
Nicknames as Full Names
It’s becoming more popular for parents to choose a baby name that is traditionally a nickname. You may forgo Elijah in favor of Eli. You may also prefer Cassie to Cassandra or Evie to Evelyn. When choosing to nix the formal name, consider if the nickname you are choosing will age well with the child. While Charlie or Bobby may be the perfect name for a toddler, a more formal name, such as Charles or Robert, may serve him better as an adult, even if his friends still use a nickname. Likewise, Abby and Maggie may suit your cherub-faced daughter perfectly, but Abigail or Margaret may treat her better later in life.
Some names that were originally nicknames have become names in their own rights. Sadie, originally a nickname for Sarah, topped the 2013 popular baby names as the 50th most-given girls’ name. Similarly, Molly, a nickname for Mary, ranked 102nd in popularity. For boys, you may prefer the sound of Max (ranked 111 in 2013) to Maximillian.
When choosing to use a name that is traditionally a nickname, consider how the short version will age with your child.
When in Doubt, Use The Resume Test
When dreaming of the child growing within, you may imagine her as a doctor or a lawyer. You may see him being a teacher or an architect. Before signing off on any baby name, consider how the name will look on the top of a resume. Although your favorite movie may be Peter Pan, Tiger Lily Smith may not be the best name for your child. Spelling Jackson as Jaxon has become more acceptable; however, using Jazzmyn instead of Jasmine will cause employers to do a double take. Further, giving your child such an unusual spelling that the hiring manager can only make a guess as to pronunciation could hurt your child in the job world. Using Jaiyace (pronounced Jace) will not only be confusing to potential employers, but will also give your child a lifetime of teaching others how to pronounce and spell his name.
Whether you like trendy names or timeless classics, gender ambiguous names or distinctly feminine names, there is a name out there that you will love. Consider popularity, pronunciation, nicknames and initials prior to choosing a name. Listen to the opinions of others but make sure, in the depths of your heart, you love the name you choose for your child. Choosing to name a child with care will have him thanking you years down the road.