When Are We Done With the Highchair?Emily Malone
In what seems to be a growing list of “things I’ve forced my toddler to give up due to arrival of little brother,” I have a new one to add: the highchair. You see, little brother is almost 5 months old now. In another month or so, we’ll be ready to start solids (related: how is this possible???). We have a really nice (expensive!) high chair — I can’t imagine buying another one! But at the same time, I’m also not really sure that Cullen is ready to leave it either?
A few weeks after Graham’s arrival, we moved Cullen out of the crib and into his toddler bed — a transition that, while eventually successful, I felt kind of guilty about for pushing on him as early as I did. And while that was certainly the biggest offense, I just feel like he’s had to “give up” a lot to make room for his bro. Obviously, this is just par for the course, and gaining a sibling is certainly more beneficial than, say, an extra six months in a crib in the long run. But I don’t want to push it and make him feel pushed out, or pushed into growing up sooner than he’s ready.
The thing is, we’re not having the best of luck with his table manners (if you can call them that) anyway. In an effort to give him a bit more freedom and use the chair in a way that is better suited for his age, we removed the tray and straps so that he can climb in and out on his own and eat pushed up to our kitchen table rather than as a separate stand-alone unit. This has led to a lot of battles of him trying to get down from the table early (while others are still eating), not sitting still, squirming around constantly, etc. It drives me insane. Honestly, our meals are difficult enough just trying to get him to eat! But I know that the freedom and independence is also an important part of learning and growth.
I don’t really want to go the route of straps and a tray again — he’s almost 2.5 and that feels like a bit step backward. I’ve considered getting some sort of a booster seat, but I’m worried that his squirminess might make that too dangerous. Although perhaps if that is the case, it would make him learn to sit still quickly and effectively! And he’s just not quite big enough to sit directly in our kitchen chairs and reach the table well enough to feed himself.
At this point, I’m leaning toward buying a second high chair of some sort, but I’m not sure exactly what. I know that 2-year-olds aren’t really expected to sit still at the dinner table or have any sort of manners, but I also don’t like that it often feels unsafe for him to be squirming and turning around quite so much.
To the experienced moms who come before me — when did you quit the high chair and move into something more transitional toward a regular chair?