Some will say it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make: picking your child’s name. The choice carries so much weight because it won’t really affect you, but your child. And if you’re a dad sending your daughter into the big wide world, you want to help her in every way possible, right?
I know it took a while to settle on my daughter’s name, from researching meanings to saying it out loud. I wanted to make sure I didn’t inadvertently create a burden rather than a blessing for her. Today I’m glad I took the time to avoid trends, consider whether I want to follow family traditions, and even double-check what her initials will look like. I have peace of mind her name is something to be proud of, helping her feel confident in life. And this is how I got it right.
How I Chose My Daughter’s Names
My Daughter’s First Name: Amelia
The first name was the most important, so I took my time considering many different options. I wanted her name to inspire her, so she has a source of motivation in life, even when I’m not with her. I found this in the name ‘Amelia’.
Amelia sounds beautiful to start with and I appreciated that it’s not that common, because my daughter deserved something unique. What especially attracted me was the reference to a heroine, Amelia Earheart. Her life spoke of bravery and being a pioneer, characteristics I hope my daughter will emulate one day (although what she chooses in life is totally up to her of course).
My Daughter’s Second Name: Victoria
I did want to give my daughter a second name and in this article, you can read more about this brainstorming session.
It was important that it would create a nice rhythm along with her first name, so this is where speaking names aloud is a vital exercise. We drew inspiration from family and friends for this step and eventually settled on a classic, yet a timeless option, Victoria. Now, say ‘Amelia Victoria’ out loud and you’ll see that even in a noisy environment, it will be easy for her to communicate her name clearly to someone else.
You can see how many factors played a role in my daughter’s name-picking process. Here’s a summary of 5 tips that will help you get it right too.
Tip 1 – Think Twice About Name Trends
It’s easy to fall into the trap of picking a name that’s trendy at a time, yet highly unusual. While it’s popular you’ll hear it everywhere – friends, television, print media – so you’ll get used to it and start thinking it’s the name you love the most.
The danger here is that once it’s less popular, the name can become a taunt, rather than a name people respect. Also, you don’t want your child to have the same name as multiple of her school classmates one day, do you?
If you’re not sure you’re making a smart decision, use name websites that show current popularity and trends.
Tip 2 – Refer to Your Culture and Family Tree
When you need some inspiration after letting go of the trends, look to your own family for ideas. You may be surprised at what jumps off the page and into your heart. Your daughter will have the privilege of being connected to her bloodline and its legacy in a personal way.
If your culture is very important to you, this is another reason to look at family names as reference. It can teach your daughter about the importance of heritage, so she will be inspired to keep doing the same. Just remember to pick a name that’s still relevant to the time and environment you’re living in, so it doesn’t become something she will be teased about.
Tip 3 – Double Check Initials and ALL Possible Nicknames
When you think you have viable options for your daughter’s names, write out her initials. Some parents came to the shocking realization AFTER they registered a name, that the letters spell out funny or even vulgar words, which you definitely don’t want to burden her with.
Even nicknames can become a painful topic since children can be cruel. Go through these exercises to gauge the risk of horrible nicknames following her throughout her life:
- Write down all possible nicknames and ask friends for input too.
- Consider how your little girl will pronounce the name while she’s still learning to speak. If a certain syllable trips her up and she pronounces an entirely funny word because of it, that may become her nickname for life.
- What does the name rhyme with? Is there a chance of children making up hurtful rhymes or songs about her name?
You can help her avoid unnecessary embarrassment with some proper forethought.
Tip 4 – Research Meanings
The meaning of your daughter’s name can also become either an obstacle or a blessing. How many times do people ask each other what their names imply? Can you guarantee that your daughter won’t feel embarrassed sharing about hers? Names may have different connotations in different languages, so do some thorough research first.
Meanings can also be a source of inspiration. If you want your daughter’s name to convey ‘beauty’ or ‘grace’, an online search will give you many options to consider.
Tip 5 – Say it Out Loud
Before you write the name – or names – down to register the birth, did you say them out loud, along with her surname? Firstly, there should be a good flow of rhythm when you say the whole name. This prevents it from seeming disjointed.
In addition, you want the names to be easy to pronounce. It can become rather irritating when new acquaintances, teachers, or future bosses can’t say a name correctly. And you don’t want your daughter to have to correct people throughout her life. A handy method here is to say the name out loud to a friend in a noisy pub. If they get it easily, it’s a safe and practical choice.
As a father, you have the chance to bless your daughter and give her a headstart in life from the very beginning. You can see from these tips how many factors play a role when picking a name. Rather take your time, get it right and you’ll make sure she has one less thing she has to worry about in life. That’s our job as dads, right?