Toddlerhood is full of transitions, 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 all-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.
When to Transition from High Chair to Table
Although there’s no specific age, your toddler will typically be ready to move away from the high chair anywhere 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. Don’t worry if they aren’t completely stable or tall enough to reach the table; booster seats can be used to bridge the gap and help ease the transition.
Signs Your Toddler Is Ready to Move to the Table
Like many transitions during early childhood, your toddler will likely let you know when they’re ready to make the move. If your child is becoming increasingly fussy during mealtime in the high chair, they may be trying to express a desire for eating with the rest of 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 might simply be getting too big for the high chair. If you notice they seem uncomfortable or are trying to climb out, it may be time to switch to a booster seat at the table. Additionally, if your toddler has both the desire and dexterity to feed themselves with utensils, they’re probably ready for a bit more independence during mealtime.
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 anywhere 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 feel you and your child are ready, there are a few seating options to help the transition go smoothly.
- A dining booster seat is portable, space-saving and easy to clean, making it an ideal choice both at home and while dining away.
- Look for straps that attach the booster to a chair, as well as a safety belt to keep your toddler from wriggling out. Some booster seats are equipped with a snap-on tray, which might suit your child if they’re between stages—that is, if they’re 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 mealtime is an enjoyable experience for all involved.