Tips for Choosing Your Child's Godparents

Published June 13, 2019
Parents making a decision together

Choosing your child's godparents might be easy or seem impossible. If you're considering asking one or more people to be godparents for your child, check out some advice and tips on making this important decision. At the end of the day, it's about what you as the parents value for your child that makes the decision.

People to Consider as Godparents

In the traditional, religious sense godparents are typically adults from your church who lead a faith-filled life and participate in the child's baptism. Today, parents choose godparents for all different reasons. Typically, all parents stick with one godmother and one godfather. When choosing godparents for your child, ask yourselves questions like these to find the best fit for you and your child. You may be able to rule out one or more groups of people before you even get to the other factors to consider in godparents.

Family Members as Godparents

Family members can be godparents too and take on roles bigger than their typical extended family roles. When choosing family members, you'll need to consider the godparent candidates and how the rest of the family will be impacted by your decision.

  • Will your selection cause more harm than good?
  • Is there one family member who has an extra special relationship with your child?
  • How will a family member participate as a godparent that's different from their family role?

Close Friends as Godparents

Friends of one or both parents are also in the running for godparents. Look for friends who set a great example for your child and have been in your life for a long time.

  • Are you confident this friendship will remain strong over time?
  • Will you ask just your friend or their spouse too?
  • Are you both comfortable with this person as a godparent?

Faith Leaders as Godparents

Whether you're looking for a strictly spiritual godparent or not, members of your faith community can be considered for the role of godparent. These people often exemplify values such as kindness, generosity, and community.

  • Will they support your child's beliefs or try to force them?
  • What does their life outside the church look like?
  • Are you confident you won't change your own belief systems during your child's life?

Couples as Godparents

Many of the people you'll consider as godparents will be married or in a committed relationship. You'll need to decide if you're asking just one person from the couple or both people.

  • Do you know both people equally well?
  • Do both people know your family well?
  • Will it cause problems for the couple if you ask only one of them?

Factors to Consider When Choosing Godparents

Now that you have some ideas about who you might and who you definitely won't consider as a godparent, you can look more closely at each person's traits and abilities. Both parents should engage in honest discussions about what you expect from a godparent and how specific people fit this ideal. A great exercise during these talks is to create a numbered priority list that includes the following factors. You can use that list to narrow down your options.

Newborn infant being held in arms of aunt

Role of Religion or Faith

The traditional godparent role is a faith-based one. Consider what role religion or faith should play in the godparenting relationship, if at all.

  • Is this person knowledgeable in your religion?
  • Can this person support and encourage your child's faith in positive ways?
  • Is this person capable of participating in religious ceremonies and holidays with your child?

Godparent Roles and Responsibilities

Before you choose godparents, make a specific list of expected duties using a printable checklist to make it clear what you are asking of a godparent. These can be dictated by your religion or your own values as a family.

  • Are the responsibilities of a godmother and godfather the same or different?
  • Is your potential godparent capable of fulfilling all the responsibilities you've listed?
  • How would it affect your life and your child's life if this person didn't fulfill their role?

Godparent Lifestyle

The main point of a godparent is for them to act as a living example of the kind of person you'd like your child to become. Godparents are like bonus role models who play an important role in their godchild's life and development.

  • Do you feel comfortable with all aspects of this person's lifestyle?
  • Does this person embody your idea of a great role model most of the time?
  • Are there any parts of this person's lifestyle that might be detrimental to your child's well-being?

Location of Godparents

Some godparents simply send cards or make phone calls from afar on special occasions. Other godparents are physically present in their godchild's life as much as family members typically are. You'll need to decide what type of godparent you're looking for and how important location is for that relationship.

  • If they live far away, are they generally great at communication with you or others you know?
  • If they live nearby, are they generally great at respecting boundaries with you or others you know?
  • Is their current location most likely permanent or are they known to move a lot?

Godparent Finances

If you expect your child's godparents to make some financial contributions to your child's life, you'll need to think about their finances and financial security.

  • How important are financial contributions from godparents?
  • Are they typically stingy or generous with money?
  • Are they able to afford the financial roles you expect?

Godparent Family

Depending on how involved you want godparents to be, it's important to consider their own family obligations. You want to choose godparents who can retain a stable relationship with your child over time.

  • Does this person already have children or plan to have children and how could that impact their ability to participate in your child's life?
  • Is this person close to their own family members?
  • Are you comfortable with this person's spouse or partner who may have contact with your child too?

Choose for Your Child

Your baby won't get a say in who their godparents are, so it's your job to act in their best interest. Keep in mind who you ask to be a godparent isn't about who you like the most right now, it's about who will be the best role model and friend to your child throughout his or her entire life. The right person for each godparent role will be someone who most closely matches your idea of what a godparent should be.

Tips for Choosing Your Child's Godparents