When is a child too old for a high chair? Most parents agree that 2 years is the best time to stop a child from using a high chair whether at home or at a restaurant.
However, there are a host of reasons why some children aged over 2 years may still need to use a high chair. For instance, a child with an underlying mental condition or developmental problem may need to be strapped onto a seat during meals so that he or she can sit and eat calmly.
That aside, most children begin to sit better at the dining table at the age of 12 to 18 months. At this point, you can transition them to a booster seat until they turn 2 years where they no longer need to be strapped on.
In this article, we shall discuss the telltale signs of a child who no longer wants to use a high chair and how you can transition them safely on to a booster seat or a normal dining chair.
When is a Child too Old for a Chair High? Tell-Tale Signs
When they keep trying to climb out
As children grow older, their desire to explore and experiment increases. Playing with food and changing seating arrangements becomes quite common during meals. Their desire to experiment makes them feel restricted on the high chair and may strive to climb out in search of a little freedom.
So attempting to unstrap and climb out of the chair is a major sign that they are ready to switch.
At this point, it is paramount to make a secure sitting arrangement for them at the dinner table since the high chair becomes a safety hazard.
Become hysterical when strapped on
If your baby becomes hysterical or agitated when strapped on to the high chair, it’s definitely a time to move him or her.
If they have an older sibling(s), they may hate the idea of sitting on the high chair while the rest of the family is at the table. This may lead to resistance, causing them to become hysterical. The only way to calm them down would be by allowing them to seat on a dining chair like the rest of their siblings.
Understand the basic mealtime rules
You should start training your child as early as possible on the importance of sitting calmly during meals. This may include helping them understand that they should not attempt to climb out of their chair or stand on it during meals.
When they start to understand the importance of seating calmly for meals, then you no longer need to strap them on the high chair.
When they want to be like you or their older siblings
As we mentioned earlier, your child may start to resist sitting on a high chair because he wants to be like you or his older siblings.
Once he realizes that neither you nor his siblings are buckled onto a high chair, he may desire to sit at the table on a big chair like everyone else. He may express his desire by fighting for his sibling’s seat or running to have the first seat at the table before everyone else.
How to transition from high chair safely
Use a booster seat
Children are different. While some may sit calmly at the table during meals others may attempt to climb on it or stand on the chair.
Thus, even though your child is over 2 years, you may need to have him or her on a booster seat so as to restrain them.
You may also need to use a booster seat if they are not able to reach the dinner table yet they don’t want to sit in the high chair.
As they get older, they will get used to eating calmly with the rest of the family members at the table. So you will not need to buckle them up, especially when they clearly understand mealtime rules.
Use high chair without the tray
Another way to transition safely is to use the high chair without the tray.
Simply strap them on the chair and push it up to the table so that your child can eat at the table with the rest of the family.
This will help them learn the mannerisms and rules that should be followed during the family meals; thereby, enabling peaceful transition.
See also: Best high chair that grows with baby
So, when is a child too old for a high chair? As we have seen above, there is no definite time. However, you need to look out for signs that he or she no longer wants to be in a high chair. For instance, if he keeps climbing out or becoming fussy and hysterical while on the chair, it could signify that he wants to be at the dining table with the rest of the family. As you move him from the high chair, take extra caution by using a booster seat to ensure their safety. A gradual transition would also work great such as by first removing the tray from the chair and pushing it up the table before allowing the child to sit on a dining chair unstrapped.