Teaching your child how to eat can be troublesome, and it’s for this reason we use high chairs. Baby high chairs help your child sit properly while introducing them to different foods. But they can’t depend on a high chair forever.
At some point, they’re going to have to step down from the high chair. The question is when? Here are some signs your child might be ready for the dinner table.
What Is a High Chair?
A high chair is an elevated seat upon which parents let their toddlers sit. Since regular chairs are too low for toddlers, the chair is elevated up to three feet so it can be the same height as the dinner table. Some high chair manufacturers even include height adjustment as a feature for baby high chairs.
In addition to being elevated, a high chair also comes with its own table and straps, like a five point harness, to keep a toddler locked in while feeding and avoid falling off.
When Can a Baby Sit on a High Chair?
On average, parents put babies on a high chair at four to six months old, when the child starts showing signs they’re ready for solid foods. Around this time, babies start putting toys in their mouths and shy away from baby food or purees.
Even when your child starts sitting on a high chair and eating solids, they should still be breast or formula-fed until they are a year old.
When Do Kids Stop Using High Chairs, or When Is a Child Too Old for a High Chair?
After using the high chair for a good few months, then you can move on to alternatives because your baby will eventually grow out of it, and the high chair may become more of a burden than a tool to help feed your child.
Ideally, you should stop using the high chair starting at eighteen months old to three years, depending on your child’s development. The time they move on from the high chair can vary from child to child, so it can be hard to determine the right time for your baby.
Here are some signs you should look out for that could mean your baby is ready to step down from the high chair.
Too Small for Your Baby
Your baby could experience growth spurts within eighteen months to three years (or even earlier), and one of the most obvious signs it could be time for your baby to move on from high chairs is when they don’t fit in the chair anymore.
Remember never to force your child into using a high or booster chair. In addition to the discomfort, your child might surpass the high chair’s weight limit, which could be dangerous for them.
If your high chair comes with the features, try readjusting the straps or footrest before ditching the chair entirely.
Your Baby Moves Around a Lot
At times, babies can be very energetic, especially when they have just started learning how to move around on their own. While it’s important to allow your baby to develop their motor skills, constant movement can become a problem at the dinner table.
If your baby moves around too much, they could easily fall off their high chair (if not with it). A dining chair without safety straps might be safer for them in the long run.
Your Baby Knows How to Unbuckle the Seat Harness
Never underestimate your baby’s motor skills; as soon as they’re able to pick things up, they can also open doors and, worse, unbuckle the straps of their high chair’s seat harness.
Once you notice an increased mastery of their motor skills, you should keep them away from high chairs, since they can easily unbuckle themselves without your knowledge and fall.
They Can Sit Upright on Their Own
One of the reasons many parents use high chairs is as a means of support for their developing baby. Not all babies can sit upright on their own, so the high chair’s back becomes their support.
Once your child shows they can sit up on their own, it could be time for them to upgrade to a regular chair and sit with the rest of the family during meal times.
They’re Fussy at the Table
Many children throw tantrums during dinner. However, the reasons for their tantrums could differ each time, and one of them could be that they’re growing tired of the high chair.
Pay attention to your child’s fussiness; letting them have tantrums in their high chair could lead to more than just dropped food and can even be dangerous, even if they’re safely strapped in. Regardless if it’s because they’re uncomfortable or impatient, try placing them in a different seat and see if they like it better.
Your Baby Understands Table Manners
On the other hand, if you notice that your child already knows the basic rules of mealtime, they could be in line for a promotion to a big kid chair. Your child imitating adults at the dinner table could be a sign that they’re ready to leave their high chair and toddler table and finally sit at the table.
Your Baby Says So
Always watch out for what your baby says during mealtime, because they could be telling you exactly what they feel about the high chair.
They could demand to sit with the family or ask to be like mommy or daddy. Whatever the case, just stay calm and give them what they want. If it doesn’t soothe them, then you could always put them back in their high seat.
What To Use After High Chairs
Once you notice your child is on their way to being a grown up, it may be time to think of alternative seating to teach your baby the proper way of eating. Here are a few.
Child-Sized Dining Sets
Child-sized dining sets are a great way to move your child from a high chair to a table with proper utensils. In addition to being smaller than a regular dining table, a child-sized set allows children to simulate dining in an environment suited for them, allowing them to develop table manners naturally.
A booster seat could be worth considering if your child wants to sit on a regular chair but can’t reach the dining table just yet. Booster seats can be placed in dining chairs to support the learning toddler. They are also safer since they have safety straps and have many space saving qualities.
Ashtonbee’s Wooden High Chair for Babies
A big kid may not need a high chair anymore, but if you’re still looking for one, then maybe you should check out Ashtonbee’s.
We build quality chairs. Our seat and food tray are made of food-grade polypropylene supported by beech tree wood legs, making an extremely sturdy high chair for your baby.
At Ashtonbee, we put your child’s needs first. So come look at our items and see what else we can provide for your precious baby.