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18 month old refuses high chair and booster seat

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My son no longer wants to use a high chair or booster seat anymore. He would rather sit in a chair like Mama and Dada. The problem is he gets pretty wiggly sometimes and will spin around in his chair, get down and back up etc. The table is still a bit too high for him when he's just in a chair and it's obviously harder for me when he can move around and doesn't have a tray. I tried putting him back in his booster seat, but he cries and screams, so I've stopped bothering. Any tips? Would you just let him sit in the chair as wiggly as he might be? And if I let him eat that way, will he eventually learn to sit through a meal "properly"?
post #2 of 13

Is it the confinement he doesn't like? Perhaps you could just build up a chair so he was higher. When I was little folks just used to use a big phone book or dictionary to prop kids up higher for a while. I do think my kids stopped using special seats around that age. It is a very wiggly time of life with lots of attention shifts. Perhaps try it without for awhile. He should settle down over time. If he gets up too often, perhaps you could set a time limit on the meal so he simmers down to focus for a bit?

post #3 of 13
My kids moved out of their boosters around then, too. Overall not super wiggly kids. Oldest liked to stand during most meals. Booths at restaurant made for nice meals.
Youngest either sits on her butt or knees and does great.
My kids also like meal times. My husband also eats quickly and is usually finished first!
post #4 of 13

My kids never liked high chairs or boosters once they were actually eating (as a baby my older one would sit in one, but he didn't really eat until 15 months or so).  We had all of our at-home meals in the living room with dh and I on the couch and children's plates on the coffee table with them eating if they wanted, playing, or whatever.  Getting them to sit through a meal has never been high up on my list of to do's but now at 8 1/2 and 3 1/2 they usually seem fine to me at restaurants (my older one always was great in restaurants, little one has usually been a terror but better lately).

post #5 of 13
DD rejected her high chair at about the same time, and now I wish I had made her sit in it anyway. She makes other people a nervous wreck when we go out to eat, and I have to force her to sit at the table at family member's houses because no one else wants a toddler running around with food or standing in their kitchen chairs terrified she is going to bust her head open. I feel like this is one of the things that I should have stuck to my guns about. It started with the highchair, then the booster seat, and now she refuses to sit on telephone books and most of the time throws a fit when she has to sit at the table at all.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I don't really want him running around with food or standing on the chairs which is what he would prefer. I'm not sure how to go back at this point. I may try a different kind of booster to see how it goes. It is nearly impossible to do a meal out anymore because of this. I wouldn't mind so much if someone could guarantee it was a phase. Maybe I should try the booster at times other than meals and with special treats or something to get a more positive association going. Otherwise I'm not sure how to stick to my guns since he literally pitches a fit and won't eat.
post #7 of 13

Have you introduced play dough or fingerpaint yet?   Those are GREAT for special high chair/booster fun.  The condition of playing with either in our house is sitting in the high chair at the table (we have one of those high chair/chairs that just pulls up to the table w/ a seat that adjusts to DS's height as he grows--if he stands we snap him in with the buckle, so he's pretty good about staying seated)

post #8 of 13

My 18-month-old is the same way. At home, we have a "high chair" that straps to a normal chair- I've taken the tray off and don't strap him in, so it feels more like a normal chair, while still giving better support and containment than a kitchen chair. At restaurants, we sometimes try a high chair, sometimes a booster, sometimes neither. I'm just very consistent with telling him "On your bottom." when he tries to stand up. He usually ends up on my lap eating or nursing more than half the meal. Booths are nice for allowing some wiggle room and containment without the fear of falling off a chair.

post #9 of 13

It may very well be a phase.  DS rejected the highchair/booster seat right around 17 months.  We bought him a little table and chair to eat at for a little while.  Then he wanted to eat at the table with us.  At that age we focused on the things that were safety issues (standing up on the chair, trying to climb on the table, etc.) and worried less about manners.  If I had a dime for every time we said, "on your bottom please" I could buy a new car!  He'll be 2 in a few weeks and he doesn't really stand up in his chair anymore and he does a pretty good job of staying at the table during mealtimes.  He does still get distracted (toys! kitty!) but we're working on the concept that if you get up from the table, that means you're all done and mumma is going to take your plate away.


Mealtimes and dinners out are just tough at that age!  It does get better.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you all. I'm feeling much better just knowing that I'm not the only one. I think that LittleBirdy is dealing with it exactly how we will. A friend also suggested small table and chairs, so we may try that. Otherwise we will just keep focusing on "sit down" and the idea that if you leave the table then you're done eating. I must say that the little chap was perfect sitting in his chair at lunch today, so I have hope (I admit he may have thrown a few peas on the floor...baby steps!).
post #11 of 13
My dd went through that. We just kept switching it up. When she got tired of the high chair, we switched to a booster. We went back and forth until she hated both. Packed them both away and muddled through. Dinner was a bit crazy then. We ate at the coffee table sometimes because she was crazy with the climbing up and down from the chair and she fell off a few times. We also let her play on the floor and dh and I would sneak bites in while keeping her distracted. We just made sure that she wasn't laughing or running while eating. After the booster had been packed for a while, I pulled it out to sell it, and she wanted to use it again. We got a few weeks out of it and then another few weeks out of the one from my mom's house. We kept switching it up. When I saw this post, I realized that I haven't even though about needing to pull the booster seat out for months. So it did last for a while, but definitely a phase. Now she sits at the table long enough to eat and it's no big deal.
post #12 of 13

What about a tall chair like this:




It might let him feel like he's sitting in a regular chair, but it is of a height with the table so he maybe won't be as tempted to stand up. I imagine it would work for any kid up through the preschool years, so it would still be of use for some time.

post #13 of 13
When my now 6yo was about that age we found a gadget called Kaboost or similar that attaches to the bottom of the legs of any dining chair and boosts up the whole chair a few inches so a child sitting on that chair will be at table level without a booster seat. It worked out so well that I wish DH hadn't broken it so we could use it with our 2yo DS, who gave up on the strap-to-chair high chair months ago. Lately we've been placing our Learning Tower against the table in place of a chair for him because he just will not sit down--but I would probably stand too if I could barely see over the table from my chair! (Sorry for all the product endorsements--we usually aren't ones for gadgets but these two worked so well with our DD and now our DS at meal times.)
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