Naming a child is a minefield. Just think of how many things can go wrong…
You and your partner like completely different names
…or have relatives you want your child to be named after
You choose a name that, when shortened, sounds a lot like something unspeakable
You choose a name that, when joined to your surname, sounds a lot like something unspeakable
You give your child embarrassing initials
You give your child a safe name… and a few years later there are 4 others in his or her friend group
You choose a name that means “pencil”
So I should run it by all my friends?
The worst way to avoid naming problems is to get advice from friends and family. Everyone’s tastes are different; someone hates someone else with that name; family wants the name to be a tribute to an ancestor; and so on. You’re bombarded with suggestions that have nothing to do with you!
Fortunately, naming your child is one of the many things the internet can help you with. The following 3 tools are fantastic for making sure you make the right decision for you and your child.
Kidspot’s Baby Name Finder
Kidspot is an Australian website that features articles and online tools to help with every aspect of your pregnancy. It’s baby name finder lets you search according to the following:
● origin: although this seems useful, it hardly found any names, despite a few random and not-so-random attempts
● meaning: you can search the meaning of a name, or search for names that match a specific meaning. This feature works really well, giving loads of suggestions for each search
● popular names by year: although this doesn’t make it to 2015 (the latest option is 2011)
When you find a name that you like, clicking on it will bring up more extensive information, including the origin, description, similar names, variations, and what demographic the name is popular for.
Baby Name Wizard
The site with the most extensive search criteria, Baby Name Wizard requires you to sign up for free, before providing access to all of its charms. The Expert Name Finder, with input options:
● length and letter preferences: starts with, ends with, max syllables, etc.
● style: choose which styles to require/exclude, including traditional, invented, prominent namesake, and passing fashion
● current U.S. popularity: 6 options from rare to very popular
● image: scales of 1-5 on which other users have voted. Includes smart, creative, young, and sexy!
Don’t play around too much. When I inputted the criteria require: invented & HIGHLY unusual, two of the options were Quigley and Jerkface. At least one of them was someone’s idea of a joke!
Baby Name Wizard also has a Name Matchmaker, in which it finds names similar to names you like. You can include style and origin preferences (in contrast to Kidspot, origin search really works), and popularity.
When you click on a name, it gives you the origin, popularity over time, brother and sister names, nicknames, famous people, fictional characters, and the image scale mentioned above.
This one is much more straightforward than the others. Do a quick search to find names by origin (this one works too!), first letters, and meaning.
When you click on a name, it gives you brief details, as well as variations and nicknames. However, it seems there are some jokers here too – listed as variations for the highly popular “Liam”, are Meow and fffff.
A fun feature is the baby name quiz, which gives you suggestions based on your personality. There is also the name game, which presents names, one at a time, and makes you choose whether you love or hate it.
The best tools are still in your head
While these online tools make finding names fun, and gives you some beautiful suggestions you never would have thought of, your internal motherly tools are most important. Whatever name you choose will reflect your wishes for your child, so there’s no need to worry too much.
But play around and see what comes up. You may get a few Quigleys, but you might also get a Dineo, Gage, or a simple Gabriel.