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How Should a Parent Walk a Baby Onstage During a Pageant?

by Laura Agadoni

If you believe your baby is the cutest thing since sliced bread, you might consider entering her in a beauty pageant. Besides being adorable, successful pageant babies should also be well-behaved, like to smile, wave “bye-bye” and tolerate sitting around waiting for extended periods. If you think your baby has what it takes to compete in the pageant circuit, learn what most pageants expect from parents.

Ensure Your Baby is Happy

Before you enter a major beauty pageant that charges big-time fees, make sure pageants suit your little one’s personality. Some local pageants are free to enter or charge a low fee, says pageant coach Rhonda Shappert on her Winning Through Pageantry website. Low-key pageants give you a chance to determine whether your baby can handle wearing fancy dresses, hanging around at the pageant and being paraded in front of crowds. Some babies enjoy or tolerate the activity, and some have meltdowns. If your baby is miserable, considerable waiting until she is older if you wish to try again. The key to making pageants enjoyable depends on whether your child enjoys them.

Consider Your Appearance

Most pageants expect parents to escort children younger than 3 years onstage. Shappert recommends you focus not only on your baby’s appearance but to consider your appearance, too. Make yourself presentable for the stage by being neatly groomed and dressed in clothes that blend with your baby’s clothing. You don’t want the judges to focus on you, so dress modestly and conservatively. Think of yourself as the backdrop to the main attraction -- your baby.

Holding Your Baby

When you are walking your baby onstage, hold her out so she is facing the audience and the judges. You shouldn’t carry her on your hip. Hold her by placing one hand under her bottom and the other hand across her waist. Shappert recommends that you practice walking with your baby in that manner at home so she becomes used to being held that way. Practice holding her up, too, so the audience and judges can get a better look. When you are standing onstage with your baby, look down at her the entire time. That signals to the judges to look at your baby, too.

Toddlers

If your baby has recently learned to walk, don’t risk having her walk onstage, even if she’s holding your hand or your finger. It’s usually a better idea to carry her. Otherwise, you risk having her fall down or sit down before she has completed her walk. That often leads to a tantrum onstage. Shappert says that toddlers don’t receive extra points for walking themselves versus having their parents carry them.

Boys and Fathers

The pageant world is not just for mothers and daughters; boys also compete. Fathers sometimes like to walk their babies onstage, too. Psychologist Robi Ludwig said on Today.com that pageant fathers become more nurturing when they participate in pageants with their children. Dads tend to be more laid back than some moms and are often more playful, according to "People" magazine's senior writer Joey Bartolomeo, who followed families through a pageant weekend and reported the findings on Today.com.

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