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What is a smart name?

Choosing a name for your child is one of the most important decisions a parent can make. The right name can give your child a great start in life and help shape their identity and personality. But with so many name options available, how do you choose a name that is unique, meaningful, and sets your child up for success?

What makes a name smart?

A smart name is one that meets several key criteria:

  • Easy to pronounce and spell – Avoid overly complex or confusing names that will cause constant mispronunciation or misspelling.
  • Positive meaning – Choose a name with a meaning that promotes positivity, strength, happiness, etc.
  • Works well with last name – Make sure first and last names flow well together.
  • Fits child’s personality – Pick a name that matches your child’s disposition and energy.
  • Adaptable – Pick a name your child can grow into that works well at all ages.

Should you choose a unique name?

Unique names are on the rise, but there are pros and cons to choosing an unconventional name for your baby.

Pros of unique names

  • Allows child to stand out – Your child won’t be one of several in their class with the same name.
  • Reflects personality – Can choose a name that captures your child’s essence or interests.
  • Conversation starter – Unique name gives people something to comment on and remember your child by.

Cons of unique names

  • Mispronunciation – People may continually mispronounce and misspell very unique names.
  • Teasing – Uncommon names may invite unwanted teasing from other kids.
  • Assumptions – People may make unfair assumptions about your child if name is too unconventional.

Should you use name trends?

Checking current name popularity lists can help you avoid very common names. But don’t disregard a name you love just because it’s trendy. Here are some tips on using name trends:

  • Avoid top 10 names – Unless a highly popular name has special meaning, consider names just outside the top 10 for more originality.
  • Check variants – Look for spelling variations or less common diminutives of popular names (like Theo instead of Theodore).
  • Look at trends – Consulting lists from the last few years can give you a sense of rising and falling popularity.
  • Consider longevity – Will the name still work well for your child their whole life, or is it very tied to current trends?

How does your name impact your child?

Research suggests names can influence a child in several ways:

  • Perceptions by others – People make judgements about intellectual and socioeconomic background based on names.
  • Personality – Some evidence that names influence personality traits like intro/extroversion.
  • Behavior – Names linked to likelihoods of smoking, drinking, getting into trouble, etc.
  • Achievement – Some names correlated with higher or lower grades and test scores.

However, impact seems small and much depends on the individual child. Plus, perceptions about names change over time.

Tips for choosing the perfect name

Here are some final tips for finding the ideal name for your baby:

  • Make a master list – Brainstorm and compile names you like from books, websites, friends, family history, etc.
  • Try it out – Say potential names aloud, imagine yelling them across a playground, and pair them with your last name.
  • Trust your gut – Listen to your instincts when testing names rather than going just by trends.
  • Involve others – Get input from close family but make the final decision together with your partner.
  • Meet the baby – You may change your mind when you meet your little one, so have some backup options.


Choosing your baby’s name deserves careful thought and reflection. Look for a name that sounds good, carries meaning for your family, and sets your child up for an awesome life. Trust your instincts, take input from loved ones, and choose the name that feels just right when you meet your new arrival!