naming your babyIf you’re a dad or mum to-be, you’ve probably been spending a good deal of time scouring the bookshelves and internet for that special name for your little one. Especially if he or she is your first child!

It depends a lot on how you look at it. Some of us choose names based on how we feel about them. For example, does the name “Rosabelle” make you feel all sugar and spice and princess-like? Or how about “Hector” – does it make you think of a grumpy, old man who bangs on the floor with his walking stick?

Others of us choose names based on what they mean. It could be something related to our faith, such as “gift of God” or something especially meaningful to the parents. And then, some of us are just happy to leave the naming rights to our parents or in-laws to go figure out!

Whichever category you fall into, here are a couple of practical suggestions for you to consider before you decide on the name that your child is going to go through life with:

#1 What it means is important
While a name’s meaning may not be your main criteria in choosing what you will call your child, it’s far from irrelevant. Even if it doesn’t matter too much to you, it might matter to your child down the road. And furthermore, if school teachers or friends pick up on the meaning, and it’s not a flattering one, your child is in for some rocky times at school. Not sure how to check? It’s simple: do a google search with the key words “meaning of name” and your desired name.

Tip: Check out more than one site for the meaning of your name. Sometimes different sites have slightly different variations of meaning for the same name. In general, the more sites have that meaning, the more likely that’s the real meaning for your name.

#2 Think about what it can mean
Little children can be pretty cruel at times. For that matter, even tactless adults can make fun of certain names too. Do consider the possible ways that people could mispronounce or misuse your child’s name as part of your selection process. For example, you wouldn’t want to call your child Zhen Dao Mei (chinese name that translates to “so unlucky”)

Of course, as you’ll come to realize, there are many names which can be fodder for teasing, so you’ll just have to weight the likelihood of that with all the other factors why you like the name.

#3 Involve your parents
While you want to have the final say in what your son or daughter will be christened, it would be foolish to completely leave the grandparents out of the whole process. After all, you don’t want to choose a name that they absolutely detest (for whatever reason). As with all family discussions, some compromise might be mandatory.

Do spend time sharing and discussing your options with your parents when possible. You might not agree with all their input or ideas, but it could be a valuable opportunity for family bonding, and you might be surprised by some of the insights and suggestions they can offer!

#4 Know what’s in at the moment
With every generation of children, there are a few names that stand out as very popular for a certain period. Again, a simple google search for “popular baby names 2012” will do the work for you! That doesn’t mean you have to steer clear of those names, but at least you’ll be prepared that your son might be one Jayden or Asher out of three in his class.

By Dorothea Chow

This article was published in The New Age Parents emagazine.

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