High chairs are incredible baby care tools, aren’t they? They make it easier for you bring the young one at the dinner table during meal times or when eating out in a restaurant. In essence, they eliminate the need to hold your baby as he or she feeds, saving you a substantial amount of work and stress (yes, especially when the young one refuses to eat!)
Nonetheless, soon or later, your baby will want to leave the high chair – which is a natural growth process. The problem is, it can get a little confusing figuring out just when to let the young one abandon it.
While there is no particular age as to when your baby should leave the high chair, some signs will show you that it’s time you let the little one “free.” Here are the hints that should tell you it’s time to transition.
When the Baby Starts to Test Other Chairs
By the time your baby takes the spoon, they will be content with seating on the high chair. However, between 1.5 to 3.5 years you may start to notice that your child is not only experimenting with what he or she eats but also with other chairs on the sitting arrangement.
If your child is starting to get fussy on the high chair during meals, it is because he or she wants to be more independent. Some of the theatrics the little one may pull include sitting on the chair or the dining table.
When the Baby Start Behaving Like a “Big Kid”
The primary reason your baby wants to move out of the high chair is that he or she yearns to be like you or older siblings. As your child grows, he or she will start to take note that not everyone is sitting in a high chair. Depending on their age, the baby may not be able to speak to you. Do you know what he or she will result into? The little one will want to sit in a “big chair.” This could happen when the kid is as young as 18 months.
If your child is going to a day care unit, where they all sit at a table, he or she will want to replicate the same at home.
When the Baby is Escaping from the Seat
If your baby has developed enough muscle power to crawl out of any contraption whether you’re talking about a high chair, playpen or crib, it makes no sense keeping them in it anymore because it turns out to be a hazard. You certainly don’t want to spend most of your time trying to force your child to sit in a high chair when they can easily escape. You should know it’s time to transit when your baby can loosen the straps or remove the feeding tray all by themselves.
So, What are Your Alternatives?
What do you do when your baby can no longer sit in a high chair? Your best bet lays in shifting to a booster seat that attaches to a regular adult chair. Generally speaking, a booster seat is designed to secure your child into place using a harness system. Booster seats are compact in comparison to high chairs which also mean that they are portable.
If a booster seat doesn’t do it for you (or is it your baby), another alternative is to let the young one sit at a child-size table and an even smaller chair when feeding and if there are older siblings, encourage them to sit around the table with him or her.
Note – Be sure to check if the little one’s feet are touching the ground. Also, when the baby stands the table should reach his or her waist to reduce the risk of injury.
The Bottom Line
Your child will certainly outgrow the high chair, so you must stay observant when he or she starts to display the above behaviors. Don’t force the baby to sit on the chair if he or she doesn’t want to, irrespective of their age. In fact, start preparing for the transition as soon as possible. You only need to ensure that even in the booster seat, the baby stays safe.