Does your baby or toddler hate their high chair? Here’s what to do

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Some toddlers resist their high chair and protest being on the desk. How do you have to react?

It occurred with each our children: At round 12 months, till about 19 months, they only wouldn’t keep on the dinner desk. Sometimes they yanked on the straps and squirmed out of their high chairs; different instances they dumped their plates in protest. Mostly they have been simply buzzing with power wanting to eat somewhat, run round, then come again and eat some extra. Our dinners have been dominated by a refrain of, “Bums down, please!”

Luxmi Balakumar* had an identical battle together with her daughter, Carmel, who started refusing to sit within the high chair when she was 15 months outdated. Only the toddler had a distinct tactic: She would fold up her legs when held over the high chair, making it inconceivable to decrease her into it.

Unfortunately, this sort of mealtime revolt can’t be resolved with airplane sound results—it takes extra creativity (and endurance) than that. So what are you able to do when your baby or toddler hates their high chair? Here are a couple of easy ways to attempt:

Lower your expectations

Jay Baum, a registered dietitian and household nutritionist in Toronto, says mother and father want to be sensible about how lengthy youngsters this age can keep on the desk to start with. “Five minutes might be all you get—that’s normal,” she says.

If mealtime resistance is occurring largely at dinner, the day by day schedule and toddler fatigue may very well be an element.

“That’s the roughest part of the day for kids, and for us as parents,” says Judy Delaware, an occupational therapist and co-founder of the web site and e-course firm feedinglittles.com. “We’ve just rushed home, we’re hungry and we’re trying to be the perfect parent in just a few hours a day.”

Baum recommends switching to simpler toddler meals, like a rainbow of veggies, fruits, cheese and protein, or simply reheating final night time’s leftovers. She says a nightly household dinner isn’t sensible in some households—and that’s OK. At her home, breakfast has all the time been their “all-together” meal, as a result of her husband can be part of them and they’re all much less careworn.

Create a mealtime routine

“Toddlers don’t like transitions, especially if you just scoop them up from playing and plop them into the high chair,” says Baum.

Instead, she suggests making a recognizable routine earlier than meals. For example, tidy up, wash hands, bring their plate to the table, get in their chair, eat,” she says. (A visible schedule that features photos of the steps may be helpful.) You may additionally use a timer, suggests Delaware, or play a particular music or noise (on your telephone, or on a countertop machine like Alexa or Google Home) to sign it’s dinnertime.

Make positive the seat is comfy

Delaware believes that high chairs and booster seats that don’t have foot rests are detrimental to mealtime success as a result of they depart a toddler’s ft dangling.

“Have you ever been on a bar stool? It’s hard to be there for a long time without stability,” she says. “A footrest gives them stability in their postural muscles, from their hips all the way up through their neck and into their jaw.” This, imagine it or not, will make it simpler for them to scoop and grasp their food, and use utensils. It’s true that each my guys cherished the transitional, adjustable chair they may climb into themselves—it was a wood Stokke Tripp Trapp that appears virtually like a stepstool, with a footrest and no tray. (We didn’t have as a lot success with booster seats or a toddler desk and chairs, although we tried all the above!)

For an inexpensive possibility, Baum recommends the Ikea Langur Junior high chair—it might transition between a high chair and a toddler chair, features a footrest, and prices solely $81.

Use distraction or incentive

Full disclosure: Not all of the ways that labored for my household are expert-approved. During our most time-crunched, low-on-patience dinners, placing on a Peppa Pig video positively helped us get a couple of further bites into these toddler bellies. We additionally found that studying image books on the desk labored (and didn’t make me really feel fairly as responsible as display time). We made a deal: to flip the web page, they wanted to take a chunk. Dietitians, nonetheless, don’t usually advocate incentivizing each chunk. Delaware warns mother and father not to create a state of affairs “where the only way they’re going to eat is with Elmo or Peppa Pig on.”

If you’ve gotten gotten right into a state of affairs the place you want to wean off a dangerous behavior like tablets or telephones within the high chair, “a book is better than a screen,” she says. Bringing a puppet or a particular stuffed animal “guest” to the desk could be even higher.

In the top, that’s what labored for Balakumar’s daughter. “On a whim one day, I picked up this plush pig she loves and said, ‘OK, Piggy, it’s time to have dinner now,’ and I strapped it into Carmel’s high chair. Then I ‘fed’ some food to the pig, using her fork. ‘Are you done, Piggy?’ I asked. ‘Because now it’s Carmel’s turn.’ Then she let me buckle her in, with zero resistance, and ate her meal.”

This pre-dinner routine continued for a month or two, however then Carmel simply obtained used to going into the chair on her personal.

“It’s amazing how a tiny bit of novelty and a little bit of imagination on the parent’s end can make a big difference,” says Delaware.

*Name has been modified.

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