As most of you know, I tend to share milestones and changes our little one Hazel is going through as they happen (and have done this since she was a newborn!). She is now 18 months old - where did that time go!
Currently, she is showing she's not keen on sitting in a high chair anymore! It's funny...these things just seem to creep up on us. I've been wondering for weeks - why is she trying to get out of her high chair all the time?! Why won't she just sit down and eat her meal?
** LIGHTBULB MOMENT!**
From 18 months to 3 years our toddlers will be ready to move out of their high chair!
Because this when they're typically stable and steady enough to sit upright on a seat and be fairly well balanced.
Your child might simply be too big for the high chair.
They're getting increasingly fussy at meal times and just not keen to sit in their high chair anymore.
This period of time is when toddlers are typically becoming more independent with feeding themselves with hands and utensils and having a drink from their sippy cup or cup.
So where would my child sit instead?
If your little one isn't keen on sitting in the high chair anymore, but isn't quite tall enough to sit on a chair at the table - you can use a booster seat.
Alternatively, you can just sit them on a seat at the table if they're tall enough/the table height is okay!
Another option is using a 'chair' that you can adjust the heights of such as this Mocka High Chair. This is a high chair but also can have the table removed to allow it to be used as a seat. This is the one that we personally have purchased for Hazel. If I had foresight to realise, I would have bought this high chair for her right at the beginning of solids so it was multifunctional and appropriate for a range of ages and stages.
Another option some families choose is getting a kiddy set of table and chairs for their little one to sit at. This can work really well especially if you have other children who would enjoy sitting with them. I'm more of a fan of having our little ones at the big table with us for meal times to make it more social. Our little ones learn so much by watching us eat and enjoy meal times.
We've found meal times for Hazel are much more enjoyable now that she's out of her high chair. She's happy to sit for 10-15 minutes and have her meal.
A quick tip for you....once our little ones are 'unrestrained' and can get up out of their chair. Consider how you will manage meal times if your little one leaves the table mid meal. Have a consistent approach for all caregivers.
We are trying the 'the food stays at the table but your body doesn't have to' approach suggested by Solid Starts - I absolutely love this approach. We say to Hazel each meal time - you can get up and leave the table during the meal, but the food stays here at the table. In 20 minutes we'll pack up our food and eat again at.... *insert next meal time*. If she tries to take a handful of food with her, I ask her to put it in the bowl before leaving the table. This prevents mess being spread all over the house and reduces the risk of choking if she's running around with food in her mouth.
Trying to make our little ones stay at the table isn't fun for us or them and often results in tears, tantrums and a negative experience. Using this approach encourages independence, decision making and allows them to gauge when they've had enough to eat.
I've found that since swapping to this approach with Hazel - she is eating lots more and is generally much happier at mealtime.