Transitions are common during toddlerhood, and mealtime is no exception. Moving your child from the high chair to the table is an exciting change that can help create a more inclusive environment while eating, especially during family meals.
When and how to transition your toddler from the high chair to the table depends on their eating habits and physical development. While there are no hard-and-fast rules, we’ve rounded up a few guidelines to help you and your little one navigate the transition from the high chair to the table.
Is your child sitting in the right seat?
A typical children’s chair in a furniture shop has a seating height of 29 centimeters. This is a good height for most 4-year-olds, but what can you use for younger children? Ergonomic and comfortable seating is equally important for toddlers as for adults!
In a chair, with the right height, a child’s feet are flat on the floor and the knees are bent at a 90° angle. Matched with a table with the right height, this will give your child a good posture. It gives an indication of the height of the chair and table that would allow each child to sit ergonomically.
When to transition from high chair to table?
Although there is no specific age, your toddler will typically be ready to move away from the high chair between 18 months and 3 years of age. During this range, they’re steady enough to keep themselves upright for longer periods of time, but may still be a bit wiggly. Booster seats can help bridge the gap and ease the transition for children who aren’t completely stable or not tall enough to reach the table.
What are the signs your toddler is ready to move to the table?
As with many transitions during early childhood, your toddler will most likely let you know when they’re ready to move. If your child becomes increasingly fussy during mealtime in the high chair, they may be expressing their desire to eat with the family. This might be accelerated if your toddler has an older sibling who they notice isn’t in a high chair—they’ll want to be a “big kid” at the table, too.
Another sign can be your child’s physical development: your toddler may simply be too big for the high chair. It may be time to switch to a booster seat at the table if they seem uncomfortable or try to climb out. Moreover, if your toddler can use both utensils and eat by himself at mealtime, they are probably ready to gain some independence.
Transitioning to the Table: Booster Seats
The transition from the high chair can and should be eased by a booster seat. Booster seats can range in safety from ultra-safe with snaps and additional safety features to simple booster seat pads that just give your toddler a boost. Like finding the perfect high chair, the search for a booster seat to fit your toddler’s needs depends on your child’s development and your family’s lifestyle. When you and your child are ready, there are a few seating options that will facilitate the transition.
- Booster seats are portable, space-saving, simple to clean, and can be used at home as well as when dining out.
- Look for straps that connect the booster to a chair, as well as a safety belt to prevent your toddler from wriggling out. You might consider a booster seat with a snap-on tray if your child is between stages, that is, if he is ready to do away with the high chair but not quite ready to sit at the table.
- If your child demonstrates a clear eagerness to sit at the table and simply needs the added height, consider a booster pad. This soft seat straps onto a dining chair and makes mealtime comfortable for a toddler who’s ready to sit with the family.
Remember, there’s no set age that your child should graduate from the high chair. If it takes a little longer to get them in a booster at the table, that’s OK. The most important thing is that your child stays safe and that mealtimes are enjoyable for everyone.
Sources and References
- Choosing the correct table and chair for your child (no date) Manine Montessori. Available at: https://manine-montessori.com/pages/choosing-the-correct-table-and-chair-for-your-child/ (Accessed: December 20, 2022).
- Transitioning From High Chair to Table (2020). Available at: https://www.nurturelife.com/blog/transitioning-from-highchair-to-table/.