Deciding on a name for your child is a daunting task. After all, a name is what a person will be called for their entire life, and many people grow up to become dissatisfied with their name. In fact, one in seven parents admit they made a mistake when naming their child, and wish they could alter their decision. While there are a variety of reasons for this, understanding the science behind choosing your babies name, along with the top ways to pick a name, will help ensure you settle on a name you love.
Is There Science Behind Choosing a Name?
Believe or not, there is absolutely a science behind choosing a name for your child. This science comes into play through two main factors: actually choosing the name and the long-term effects that a name has on a person. During a study ran by researchers from Columbia University, it was found that a voiced phoneme was associated with male characteristics, whereas an unvoiced phoneme was associated with female characteristics.
A phoneme is the unit of speech that is the smallest, with a voiced phoneme resulting in strong vibrations from the vocal cords. This can result in some traditional female names being unknowingly associated with male characteristics, which can have a gender effect on your baby in the future.
In fact, the results of this study went so far as to show that the decision of what to name your child had a long-term effect on possible teasing they may face in school, and a direct influence on whether that child conforms to a certain gender stereotype. Therefore, when choosing a name for your child, it’s important to take all factors into account, not just how the name sounds to you.
Factors That Go into Choosing a Baby Name
There are a number of crucial factors that go into choosing a baby name or, more accurately, a number of tests that parents should consider. From a psychological and vocal standpoint, as you comb through the countless most popular baby names across the country, keep the following in mind:
- Test of the Barista: Go to a coffee shop and say your name is that of what you’re planning to name you child. Consider then if you like how it looks written down and spoken aloud.
- Test of the Crowds: Take a stroll to any crowded area and call out the name you’re considering seeing what people’s reactions are to hearing it. Don’t start a panic, rather call out the name as if you’re grabbing someone’s attention.
- Test of Slang: Come up with every possible slang variation of the name you’re considering to see if there’s a specific version that you strongly dislike.
- Test of Repeating: Somehow work the proposed name into a conversation with friends or family and see if they ask you to repeat what you said, this may be an indication that the name is so uncommon that it’s not understandable.
The above are only a small sample of the ways to test the name you are thinking of for your child. Below are ten effective ways to select your babies name and ensure you’ve covered all your bases.
10 Ways to Choose a Baby Name
1. Go with a family name
One great strategy to consider when naming your child is to choose a family name. It’s an excellent way to honor somebody in your family while also settling on a name that you know you already love. Keep in mind that some children growing up many not enjoy sharing a name as it doesn’t allow for uniqueness to some.
2. Honor your culture with the name
Similar to choosing a family name, consider a name from your culture that has a strong meaning. Even if you are not closely connected with your culture anymore, that doesn’t mean you can’t honor history.
3. Think about how the first and last name will sound together
Oftentimes, parents become so involved with choosing the first name for their child that they forget to consider what it will sound like with the last name right behind it. When settling on a first name, throw the last name, and middle if possible, behind it as you speak out loud to see if it sounds natural.
4. Research the meaning behind names
Names often have a number of different meanings in differing languages. Sometimes, this can make or break your decision for a name if the translation isn’t something you’re crazy about.
5. Remember that just because a name is out of style, doesn’t mean it isn’t good
People often stray away from an older name because they fear that it will never come back into style. However, remember that popularity with a name isn’t everything. Just because a name is no longer commonly heard doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice for your child. Most names have popularity that ebbs and flows, but a strong name will never truly go out of style.
6. Don’t jump on a name you see on social media just because it’s popular
Social media trends often inflate the popularity of things, and baby names are no exception. Unless a name you see over social media has some strong hidden meaning to you, avoid giving it to your child just because you saw it on a show.
7. Double check if there are multiple spellings
One of the most annoying things a person has to deal with is their name constantly being misspelled. Avoid this by choosing a name that only has one main spelling, so that errors are far and few in between.
Choose a baby name that fills you with happiness
Choosing a baby name can be extremely difficult. The last thing any parent wants to do is give their child a name that they grow up to strongly dislike. The truth is, however, so long as you choose a name that brings you happiness and love, you can never go wrong.