A lot of people tend to scoff at the idea of pageantry for children, insisting that it's a shallow competition that only breeds interest in superficial qualities rather than what's on the inside. While this may indeed be true to a certain extent, it's really the job of the parent to instill a basic system of values into their child. If they've already been engulfed in positive messages and have an understanding of what's truly important in a human being, then you don't have to worry about them being influenced by others who don't have such lofty ideals.
Pageants can be a great opportunity for your child to boost her self-esteem, because she'll feel beautiful and special no matter what. Even if she never does it again, she'll likely have fun getting dressed up like a princess and experiencing what it's like to be on a stage.
Indeed, one of the most exciting aspects for your child will be picking the pageant dress. While there are boutiques that cater specifically to children, you may find your best bet is to shop online for a dress. This way, you'll get a wide selection, and you're also likely to find a cheaper version.
The miss usa pageant dresses at PageantDesigns.com are delightful and whimsical pieces of art that are ablaze in a swirl of color. Your child will likely fall in love with many of these dresses, and she'll have a special dress to experience not only in the pageant, but as long as it still fits her.