5 Signs it’s Time to Ditch the High Chair
Published September 1, 2017
Are you tired of fighting to get your child in their high chair at mealtime?
Are you sick of how much room it’s taking up and wondering when you can finally ditch this thing?
Many parents wonder at what age their child should stop sitting in their high chair. But when to make the switch often depends on the child’s development and what you’re comfortable with.
In this post, we will discuss the 5 signs that indicate it may be time to ditch the high chair and how to make the transition as smooth as possible.
5 Ways to Tell Your Child is Ready to Give Up Their High Chair
You think it may be time to transition from the high chair, but you’re just quite not sure. You don’t want to create any extra stress or endangerment by abandoning it too soon.
So how do you know if your child is ready for the next step?
Here are 5 signs that you should look out for:
1. The High Chair is Creating Chaos
If your child gets hysterical every time you try to put him in his high chair, it may be time to start transitioning away from it.
Mealtime should be about socialization and quality family time. It shouldn’t have to be a war zone. Toddlers become independent little people who want to move their bodies freely. Their high chair may just be too restrictive for them now.
2. They Can Follow the Rules
Following basic safety rules is a must when transitioning from the high chair, especially if you’re bypassing a booster and going straight to a regular chair.
Before you make the switch, be sure your child knows that chairs are not for standing on, rocking, lying on, or playing on. Make it clear that they need to stay seated during meals and that all plates, bowls, and utensils are to stay at the table.
As long as your child can sit still long enough to eat and follow these basic safety rules, it really shouldn't matter where they eat.
3. You’ve Got a Little Houdini
Has your child suddenly become an escape artist and capable of unbuckling that five-point harness? Is he able to climb in and out of his high chair or crib?
Once your child can unbuckle and escape, the high chair becomes more of a safety hazard than helpful. Get your little Houdini out of the high chair as soon as possible.
4. They Want to Be “Just Like You”
Have you noticed your child imitating every little thing you do? Does he want to be “just like daddy?”
Once, a child reaches this phase of development; they will quickly notice that their parents or their older siblings aren’t sitting in a high chair. Or they might be in a daycare setting where they see all of the older kids sitting at a table.
This will be apparent to him, and he will start wanting to sit in a “big boy” chair.
5. You’ve Got a Taste Taster
If your child is starting to go up and try out all of the different seats in the house, then it might be time to let them sit like a big kid.
Your child may love to get in and out of your bench seating or climb up on the kitchen chairs. If they can safely get in and out of the different seats, go ahead and let them try it out during meals.
How to Transition Your Child Out of Their High Chair
So you’ve read the signs above, and your child is clearly ready to graduate from the high chair. But how and what do you transition to?
This will vary from child to child and will also depend on what you’re comfortable with.
Here are some of my favorite tips for transitioning from the high chair.
1. Make it Gradual
If your child is showing all of the signs above, except for being an escape artist, you can take your time transitioning from the high chair.
You may start with just snacks in the big kid chair and still use the high chair for meals until you know they are fully capable of sitting still through the entire meal.
You could also just keep the high chair for really messy meals to keep the mess contained.
2. Consider a Booster
Strapped boosters are an excellent way to transition from a high chair if your child will sit in one. When choosing a booster, be sure to pick out one that straps the child in and straps to the chair. Avoid those restaurant boosters, as they can topple over easily.
There are also space saver high chairs, which sit right on top of a chair and can turn into strapped boosters simply by removing the tray and pulling them right up to the table. You could even add some stickers with your child’s favorite characters to make the booster more enticing.
3. Make it Make it Child-Size
If your child won’t sit in a booster, but you’re not comfortable with him sitting at the tall kitchen chairs, then a child size set of table and chairs may be a great alternative.
Your child can sit in a chair without you having to worry about him falling a few feet to the ground. You could also invite all of his friends over and let them have a little “dinner party” at the table.
4. Make it a Family Fun Event
Turn off the T.V. and sit at the table as a family. Make mealtime a social family event, rather than just scarfing down some food. Talk about your day, involve your child, and spend some quality time together.
This will also help distract your child from getting in and out of their new un-restrictive chair and assist them eat better.
The Bottom Line
It may be time to ditch the high chair if it’s just creating chaos, if your child can follow the rules, if you have a little Houdini on your hands, they want to be “just like you,” or if they’re trying out all of the different seats in the house.
When you make the switch, consider using a booster or child-size table, and be sure to make mealtime a family event.
At what age was your child ready to graduate from the high chair? How did you know it was time? Share your experiences with us in the comments and be sure to share this post with your toddler mama friends.