Taking a dive into the pageant world is a mix of emotions. There is the excitement of the competition, the butterflies that accompany being on stage and an intense feeling of pride in having finished. For many, the journey to the crown began with a single pageant as a toddler.
Entering your toddler in a pageant is a big deal. After all, pageants provide opportunities for your toddler to grow and have experiences that might not otherwise be available. (Click, Find Pageants Near Me, to locate pageants.)
But let's not get too ahead of ourselves. After all, before you can experience the full benefits of pageants you have to find one for your child to enter. With the number of pageant available for this age division, the task may seem daunting. Luckily, there are a few shortcuts that can help you in your pursuit to find the pageant that fits you perfectly.
Know what you want
Before you even begin to look for a pageant for your toddler to compete in, sit down and think about what you are searching for in a pageant. There are hundreds of pageants for this age division. This means the search can become overwhelming very quickly. Understanding your goals and what you want to gain from entering a pageant not only makes the search more manageable but cuts your search time in half. First, ask yourself what you want your child to gain from the experience. Do you want him or her to make appearances and participate with sister queens in community service and parades? Or, do you want a simple one-day event filled with high-glitz dresses, prizes and a chance to bond while making new friends? (Read: How to Decide if Your Child Should Compete in a Pageant)
Next, ask yourself more technical questions. The first of those should always be how much you are willing to spend. There are pageants for this age division that can cost up to $1,000 just to enter. Granted, there are just as many that have a minimal entry fee or may even be free! Setting your "pageant budget" is another key to a successful pageant search! (Read: How to Budget for a Pageant)
A few other questions that will aid your pageant search include: Do you want your child to wear makeup or hair pieces? How much time are you willing to spend with your child on the competition? (This includes time spent at the actual competition as well as pageant preparation and practice.) How far are you willing to travel to compete? Do you want a pageant with local, state and national competitions? Once you have decided your criteria for the type of pageant you want to enter, you can begin your search.
Miss California Cinderella 2017 titleholders in the 0-35 month age divisions. Photo: Cinderella California Scholarship Pageant Facebook Page
Pageant Planet Directory
Shameless plug here. Pageant Planet has an extensive free directory to help you find the perfect system for your toddler. The directory has a variety of filters that allow you to narrow your search based on your birth date, gender, phases of competition, location and more. The directory also has a button located on the left-hand side that allows you to fill out your information and have directors contact you!
This feature is super helpful if you are new to the pageant world and need assistance in getting your toddler's pageant career started. The feature also allows for directors you may not have found through a simple search to contact you. (Read: How to Find Beauty Pageants to Compete in)
Toddler Miss North Carolina Duchess 2017, Alana S. Mitchell. Photo: Anson Record
This is one of the most underrated research methods when it comes to pageants. There are private and public groups set up by people across the entire country for pageants in certain cities, states and regions. The best way to utilize Facebook searches for pageants is to use only a few keywords in the search bar. Facebook groups for pageants are typically categorized by type (i.e. glitz or natural) and location.
For example, say you want to enter your toddler in a glitz pageant in Texas. In the Facebook search bar, type "glitz pageant Texas" and your screen will be flooded with results. Not only can you see groups and pages, you can also see statuses and pictures posted about different pageants. This allows you an inside look at the pageant from those who have already competed.
Miss Pure International Tot 2017, Makynnly Suire. Photo: Clover Storm Photography
Word of mouth
As cliché as it sounds, word of mouth is one of the best ways to find pageants. Ask those close to you if they know any pageants, contestants or directors that they would recommend you to. Chances are, there is at least someone who knows someone who knows someone that can point you towards eventually finding a pageant for your toddler.
Word of mouth is also a great way to find a pageant because it allows you an even closer look at the way the pageant is run. People are more willing to be honest with you about their experiences in a face-to-face conversation. In the end, Facebook statues, testimonials and reviews only provide so much because they are written and permanent. Therefore, some may hold back on criticizing certain aspects of the pageant in order to avoid backlash.
On that same note, each experience with a pageant is different. One contestant may have a fantastic time while another may not. Remember to take everything with a grain of salt. You know what is best for your child!
Miss Georgia Princess 2017, Hadleigh Brown. Photo: Miss Southern Sweetheart Facebook Page
Finding a pageant is no easy tasks. There are many factors to consider in finding a pageant that works for you and your toddler. However, with a little time and patience, finding the perfect pageant is just a few clicks away. Have you ever entered a toddler pageant? What was you experience? Comment below!
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