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Blog about living a life to nurture, cherish and create.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

How do you choose a baby name? Part 1


Choosing a name for your baby is a massive responsibility. Some people know from childhood what they would like to call their children, other people can't decide even when they have to register the birth. Here, I've tried to break down some of the criteria you may use to help choose a name.

    Baby naming - Richard Eyre
Family names
You may wish to remember or celebrate a beloved family member through your child's name. Or, it may just be a tradition to use a certain name, which certainly keeps things easy for you. Often, family names are used as second names. It could be that you'd like to use a family name from the mother's side if the child is to go by the father's family name to create a link to previous generations on both sides of the family. On the other hand, the last thing you want to do may be to commemorate members of the family. Or, you might just want to limit confusion by everyone going by a different name.



Celebrity names
    There have always been trends for naming children after celebrities, the famous or the admired. Kylie Minogue, the Australian pop-singer created a surge in the use of her forename when she became famous in the late 1980s. Apparently, the popularity of the name Martha in the USA is due to Martha Washington, the wife of President George Washington. You might like to think about whether there is anyone in your life, or in public life who you admire and would wish your child could emulate. The tennis player Martina Hingis was named for Martina Navratilova, and achieved much of the latter's success but this approach may lead you to worry about putting too much pressure on your child's shoulders.

    Place names

    Girl's personlise name cushion - IslaSome people like to evoke places that are important to them through their choice of name. David and Victoria Beckham's first child, Brooklyn, was reputedly named after the borough in New York City, although they have dispelled this idea since. The increasingly popular girls' name 'Isla' is based on the name of the Isle of Islay. You can think of others... Florence, Paris although both of these actually have derivations other than the place name.

    Gender qualities
    Through names people often wish to attribute certain qualities to their children - and gender qualities come very high up. There are gender neutral sounding names such as Tony/Toni, Terry/Terri, Alex, Chris and so on. However, many people plump for evoking very feminine or masculine qualities. Girls are often named after flowers e.g. Rose, Poppy, Iris. This can backfire if you have a girl who is a bit of a Tom-boy like Georgina in Enid Blyton's 'Famous Five'. But she solved this by calling herself George.
    Name meanings
    Finding out the meaning of a name before putting it on your child's birth certificate is highly recommended. Charles means 'free man' which is a state or aspiration to be encouraged. Other names may not tempt such good fortune. Some names have been borne by famous people or characters that met unfortunate ends or did bad things. Desdemona from Shakespeare's Othello has a pretty sounding name but no-one would wish the tragedy she experienced on their own child.
    Nick names
    Boy's personalized name pillow - AlexThink about the nick names, pet names and shortenings that obviously come from your top choices of names. Even if you choose not to use them, once your little one goes to school you can be sure that someone will shorten their name, at some point, in some way. If you don't like the most obvious shortenings, you may want to reconsider your choice. There are names out there that aren't easy to shorten, or are already shortened forms of a name such as Alex. So if you want your child to stick with the name you chose for them a name like this may be the perfect choice for you. Alternatively, you may want to give your child options with their name. For example, Alfred could be Alfie, Alf, Fred, Freddy or Freddie.

    Next time I'll talk about the processes that some people go through to choose a name.

    I'd love to hear about what you think is important when choosing a name in the comments below.

    When you've chosen your child's name you could check out my collection of handmade name pillows and see if you'd like one for their nursery.

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