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Twins mean twice the naming fun, but avoid double trouble with these 6 tips

Having twins may double the opportunity to use your favorite names, but also multiplies the baby-naming challenge.
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Twin names may double the opportunity to use your favorite names, but also multiplies the baby-naming challenge. And suddenly, high-profile families everywhere seem to be announcing their happy news, times two. First, it was Beyonce and Jay Z. Then Madonna announced her adoption of twin girls from Malawi. Now it’s George Clooney and wife Amal who are expecting twins.

Naming twins has changed since cutesy pairs like Stacy and Tracy, Phil and Bill, and Hope and Joy were routine. Instead, parents today should seek to balance both baby names, creating a harmonious pair. After all, that’s exactly what most parents would wish for the twins themselves!

Here are six essential tips on choosing the perfect twin names for Amal, Beyonce, and any other parents facing this happy challenge.

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1. Give the two names room to breathe.

Avoid names that are too close, such as Emma and Emmett or Freddie and Teddy. If the names share a first initial, make sure they are clearly distinct from one another: Alice and Arthur, for instance, work much better than Alice and Alex. Names with different initials that share another element such as number of letters or syllables or culture of origin may be a more distinct — and interesting — way to link twin names.

Related: Four things I wish I knew before having twins

2. Play fair with family names.

If you’d always planned to name a son after your dad, make sure that his twin has a family name too. Brad and Angelina’s twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline are a great example — his first comes from dad’s side, while her middle honors her maternal grandmother.

Beyonce, seen here at the Grammy Awards, has already shown creativity in baby-naming with Blue Ivy. Now she and Jay Z have two more chances.Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

3. Consider the names’ gender identities.

Today parents often prefer to choose names they love without considering gender. But twins named Hunter and Helena, when they’re both girls, may cause confusion. Hunter and Harper work better, or Helena and Hazel.

4. Keep the style consistent.

Arabella and Nathaniel are great together. So are Jax and Paisley. But twins named Jax and Nathaniel? That’s a mismatch. One is short and modern; the other, elaborate and storied. They don’t sound like siblings, and certainly not like twins.

Related: Rare biracial twins surprise black dad, white mom

5. Link via meaning.

If you are eager to connect your children’s names, consider a subtle approach. Shared meanings make duos like Zoe and Liv — both mean life — especially appealing. Word is that Madonna’s twins are named Esther and Stella, which both mean star, another good example of the approach.

6. Keep both names equally familiar or unusual.

Bold baby names are great, but if one daughter has an attention-getting uncommon name like Ophelia, her twin probably shouldn’t be the popular and sedate Emma. The opposite is true, too. Jensen Ackles is dad to twins Zeppelin and Arrow, two names that are compatibly unique.