Pageant Prep Tips for Pageant Moms

Hi Mom! Being a pageant mom is no easy task. You are your daughter's greatest ally and advocate. It can be extremely overwhelming as you sift through the varying rules of different pageant systems and try to prepare your daughter to the best of your ability. Having recently judged several rounds of competition at this years National American Miss in NYC, I've put together a few tips to help you!

1. Read all rules carefully. Pay close attention to time limits on speeches, introductions and talent routines. If an introduction or speech is only allowed to have 100 words; only use 100 words. If the time limit for talent is 2 minutes; cut the music to 2 minutes. If you are auditioning with a commercial and can't change the text; don't change the text. Also, follow wardrobe requirements to the letter and be prompt and on-time for all scheduled events and phases of competition.

2. Consider Age Appropriateness. This goes for wardrobe and choice of talent. Many popular songs accessible and adored by kids are not necessarily appropriate for them to perform. Many lyrics refer to mature behavior and subject matter. Listen very closely to the meaning of the lyrics and ask yourself if this is appropriate for your daughter to sing about. Judges do look for age appropriate material and if they are offended by the subject matter, they will deduct points. In regards to wardrobe, take into consideration bare mid-drifts and short skirts. If the outfit is questionable, your daughter may lose points.

3. Always use a backing track when singing. If you are new to developing talent routines for pageantry, finding a backing track may seem like a daunting task. However, there are hundreds of karaoke tracks available, and many of them are just 99 cents on I-Tunes. The track should have absolutely no lead vocals on it. Singing along with a lead vocal translates onstage as lip singing and the child's voice is usually overpowered by the track vocals. Also, make sure that background vocals do not distract from the child's volume and focus. Singing a'capella may also be interpreted as lack of preparation, and is actually much more difficult for young singers to stay in tune. Check out for some great options.

4. If playing an instrument, memorize the music and develop costuming. A child who performs an instrumental musical selection will always score higher if the song is memorized. When playing an instrument like flute or clarinet, consider standing or using a stool rather than a regular chair. Also, try to be creative with wardrobe here. Pianists might find it fun playing with a train or bustle that can be draped over the piano stool. A violinist might enjoy a fun cocktail dress or elegant pants suit.

5. Never engage in gossip. It can be tempting to get yourself involved in the competition and compare your child's performance to others. However, it is important not to express these thoughts in public or in front of your daughter. Kids hear everything we say, and it is important that they realize they are only being scored against themselves. Each child is given a score based on their personal performance and skill level. Be positive and help your daughter enjoy the camaraderie and friendship that can develop out of the pageant experience. You wouldn't want her confidence to suffer because of pressure from a parent.

6. Paperwork is every contestant's first impression. Make sure all contestant resumes are typed neatly and according to the guidelines given by the pageant system. This varies considerably for each system. However, once you have the basic content down, it can often be adapted to meet the requirements of any pageant system.

7. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Of course you want what is best for your daughter and you want her to do well. But, pageantry is just like any other sport or activity such as soccer, majorette, speech and debate team or band. Reach out to the pageant director to clarify any questions or doubts you may have. I'm sure they will be happy to help.

8. Seek the advice of a coach. Mom's can learn just as much from pageant coaching as their child can. A few hours with a qualified pageant coach can help you focus your overall plan for your daughters success. It's the same as enlisting the guidance of a vocal coach, speech coach, baseball coach or math tutor. A quality pageant coaching can help save you time and money as you eliminate much of the trial and error.

9. Do have your child's clothes altered for optimal fit. Most judges take into consideration the fit and appropriateness of a gown or outfit over the cost of an outfit. I believe it is better to spend less on the gown and spend money on alterations to make sure the clothes fit like a glove. Take note of the length of gowns. Full length gowns should skim the floor. We don't want them to be too long or too short. And remember, most of the time the judges sit with their eyes at your child's feet. An even hem line is extremely important.

10. Most importantly, have fun! Pageantry is a wonderful way to help your daughter gain confidence, showcase her talents, develop her leadership qualities and gain valuable interview skills. Maintain a level head and keep the big picture in mind. Not all contestants will walk away with crowns. But, if executed with the right attitude, all will have a positive experience and garner memories to last a lifetime.

I hope this helps! Good luck with all your endeavors and as always, feel free to email me with any questions or concerns at

* Suit photo from

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