It’s one of the most exciting parts of welcoming a new child into the world: choosing a name that suits his or her personality, sits well with your surname and is something that you and your partner agree on. As such it can be a fairly fraught topic, and any list of names is bound to have a lot of revision and last-minute changes of heart.
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As any Emily, Michael, Matthew or Jessica would be able to tell you, common names are either a blessing or a curse, particularly in childhood. On the one hand, you don’t draw too much attention to yourself with a common name – children are often anxious about standing out. On the other, children may feel like they have no identity of their own. The top 5 most common names in 2012 have included Sophia, Isabella, Emma, Olivia and Ava for girls, and Jacob, Mason, William, Jayden and Noah for boys.
At the other end of the scale are the extra-unusual names – especially those with tricky spellings. People are increasingly opting for spellings like Jennipher, Jaxxson or Rubii – but be wary with creative spellings, it will likely lead to endless explanation on the part of your child, and confusion on the part of teachers, friends, service providers, bureaucrats and employers.
And then there’s just the plain bizarre, favoured by the rich and famous, like Moon Unit Zappa (daughter of musician Frank), Blue Ivy Carter (daughter of Beyonce and Jay-Z), and all of Bob Geldof’s children (Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Little Pixie).
So how can you choose a name that is both individual but also not completely outlandish? Here are a few tips:
- Consult your family tree, you might find some gems in your ancestry
- Think about your favourite novels and films – what are your favourite characters?
- The pages of mythology have some great names, although you may want to avoid names associated with characters who met with sticky ends
- If you’re really keen on a very unusual name, perhaps consider it as an option for a middle name
- Ask family, friends and the neighbourhood bully to see if they can spot anything you’ve missed
Always say the name fully and out loud in conjunction with the surname, and write it down in all possible variations of initials – you don’t want to accidentally commit an Eileen Downward or a Jack D. Ripper to the birth certificate.
How do you feel about baby names? Did you name your kids traditionally or opt for something more unusual?
Vivienne Egan is a writer for kids craft company BakerRoss.co.uk.
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