As soon as a plus sign appears on a pregnancy stick, the name hunt begins. It was, in my opinion as a parent, the hardest task of having a baby. There are many factors that go into naming your child…some you may not have even thought about.

What’s in a name? According to my mom and many others I’ve come across while doing research, everything! I remember sifting through a book of baby names, trying to find a baby boy name that would complement Michael. That search was accompanied by my mother constantly emphasizing the need to give my son a "name of promise," and not something I had just made up.

In the early days, the names given to children were very important. A child was named according to family, the place where they were born, or whatever event may have been happening at the time of the birth. For example, Moses, in the Bible, was named so because he was "drawn from the water." Likewise, King Louis had so many successors with his name because it was the name of the royal family.

Though sometimes it may seem overwhelming, choosing a baby name can be a lot of fun. Try to consider these points when taking on this important task.

Think about personality traits. True, you don’t know what your child’s personality is yet, but the name on which you decide may shape it. Oddly enough, we all tend to take on some traits from the meanings that accompany our birth-given name. When asking others what their names mean, you can easily observe the characteristics of their personality that line up with those names.

Give your child meaning. I couldn’t imagine someone asking me what my name means, and not knowing. What’s worse is having no name to look up. Some names only exist in the minds of the parents, so those names are unable to be searched or explained. Being able to read from a name book or search online and find a meaning for your name can give a sense of satisfaction in who you are as a person.

Think of all the nicknames you can. Let’s face it: children are cruel! Since your child will spend the next thirteen years or more in the company of their peers, you should try to make them as nickname-free as possible. Of course, you can’t think of them all, but you can pinpoint the obvious ones. My mom wanted me to name my youngest daughter Jemima, after a daughter of Job in the Bible. Immediately my mind conjured the constant little chants of 'Aunt Jemima,' and I politely refused!

You should also think of last names when following this rule. My husband tells of a dear child in his class when he attended school who was named Richard Head. This name is simple and rather harmless, except the general nickname for Richard is Dick. I can only imagine the horror this child must have faced on a daily basis!

Initials matter too. I didn’t realize the importance of considering initials until I read a baby name book one day. The woes of initials can also follow a child well into adulthood. Make sure that your child’s initials don’t spell out anything silly or offensive. A little girl named Anna Sara Simmons will never want to write her initials anywhere, especially school! Can you imagine having to sign these initials on an important document, or have them boldly displayed on a team shirt?

Naming your children should be a well thought out task. You can’t prevent every infraction that will occur, but you can likely stop the obvious. Look up the meanings of names in baby name books, or online. Carefully choose initials. Consider the childlike minds of impending peers. Remember that the baby name you choose in this moment will affect much of your child's future, as well as many of their inevitable life experiences.