How to Choose Names for Girls

Choosing a name for your daughter can be difficult. You want something beautiful, rare, and memorable. What you don’t want is to have the same name as every other little girl in her class. There are many naming trends to follow (or not), including given names, nature-inspired names, or even celebrity baby names. Here are some guidelines to consider before choosing that perfect name!

1) Consider your family’s history: Is there a common surname? If so, it might be wise to avoid it unless you have a good reason for doing otherwise. A lot of people use their mother’s maiden name as an initial middle name with their father’s last name as the final one, which could also work well if your mother had an unusual name. If your family doesn’t have any common names, you might want to consider traditional or classic names that have stood the test of time.

2) Make sure the name isn’t so unusual it could attract teasing: Is there something strange about how it’s spelled? Does it sound funny? Be sure to think about whether your kids are going to be getting teased for their names when they’re older. You don’t want them spending their whole lives trying to live down a terrible first impression. Also, be aware that some cultures may find certain names highly undesirable, especially if you’re not of that culture yourself.

3) It shouldn’t be difficult or confusing to spell or pronounce: Names like Ebony Jade are beautiful but hard for others to get right. Maybe you want a name like that but your daughter would like it spelled Ebbony Jhade (or something similar). Be realistic about how difficult it will be for others to spell and pronounce your child’s name. This applies not only to the spelling but also the pronunciations.

4) Make sure your kids can legally have their names: Some names may seem fine until you realize they’re forbidden by law, such as swear words and anything obscene or derogatory. Other names may just be ridiculous or extremely awkward in certain states. Check if there are any state laws before giving out pet names that sound weird or off-putting.

5) Think of possible nicknames: If your daughter’s full name is going to be too long or hard for people to remember, she’ll need a nickname. Is there something you could combine with her given name to make it easy and attractive sounding? For example, Sammich (from Samantha) is much easier than Samantha Emily Jane.

6) Names that go together: Do your choices sound good when you pair them up side by side? The names Imani Summer and Jasmine Autumn may seem like they mesh well but the last two syllables of both “Imani” and “Jasmine” (/meɪni/ and /eɪmin/) blend together in a very awkward way.

7) Look at brand names: The problem with brand names is you never know if the company will be around when your kids are adults. If the company goes out of business, your kids may become stuck with a certain brand name forever. It’s not very cool, for instance, to have the same name as the old sidekick in Archie comics.

8) Honor family or friends without copying their names: This isn’t easy but it is necessary if you’re dead-set on using part of someone’s name. You might want to consider alliteration (like naming your daughter Samantha Marie or something similar) or having some kind of connection between her first and middle names. You could do this by putting their initials together or giving them both flower motifs for example.

9) Avoid popular culture references unless they fit well: You don’t want your daughter’s name to be a reference to some celebrity’s daughter unless it really fits. For example, Holly Madison and Rainbow Aurora may work but Miley Ray and Lily Luna probably won’t. It doesn’t look quite right and people will assume they’re horrible names just because they sound like such bad examples.

10) Stay away from too many initialisms: Initialisms come up often in our society with things like text messages and social media accounts, which is why abbreviations, acronyms, and initials are so popular for naming children these days. “B” as in Brayden or “K” as in Kennedy might work, but try not to go overboard or you might end up with muddled words that aren’t really words at all.

11) Think of the nicknames first: This is kind of obvious but it can’t hurt to include it. Choosing your daughter’s name first means thinking about what she’ll be called in the future if she goes by a nickname instead. Does that nickname sound good with her full name or would you have to shorten one of them? Would you call her “Ima” for short, for instance? If so, then Imogen probably isn’t a good choice because Ima just doesn’t sound right with it.

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