When To Stop Using High Chair
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When To Stop Using A High Chair – Ultimate Guide

As your child progresses into toddlerhood, you’ll notice that they outgrow things reasonably quickly. For example, you might find that their new shoes are already tight, or their shirt no longer fits over their head. As you notice your child growing more and more, questions like, ‘when to stop using a high chair’ will cross your mind. 

There is no doubt that your child will have to stop using a high chair at some point, but that age can look different for every child. In this article, we will go over crucial topics such as signs of readiness and how to transition out of a high chair. 

Let’s get started!

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When To Stop Using a High Chair

While there is no set-in-stone age for when to stop using a high chair, most children will transition from their high chair between 18-months to 3-years-old. 

When thinking of transitioning your child out of their high chair, the most significant factor is if they are ready for the change.

Another thing to keep in mind if your toddler is still using a high chair is the safety recommendations of your specific chair. 

For example, most high chairs recommend discontinuing use once your child is 40 or 50 pounds. So, if your child is nearing the weight limit of their high chair, you’ll want to start looking for the following signs of readiness. 

Signs your toddler is ready to stop using a high chair:

Showing Interest in the Regular Dining Chairs

If you notice your child is starting to climb onto your standard dining chairs, it might be a sign that they are ready to stop using their high chair. This is especially true if your child climbs onto a dining chair to simply sit at the table. 

Climbing onto the dining chairs was one of the first signs I noticed my son showing. He would climb up onto our counter-height dining chairs and simply sit at the table. 

After a few days of practicing his (supervised) climbing, he started asking for snacks at the table without his high chair, even though he had a hard time reaching the tabletop.

Fussy When in the High Chair

If your child suddenly becomes extra fussy at snacks or mealtimes, they might be ready to stop using their high chair. 

Toddlers might start fussing when in the high chair because it’s becoming uncomfortable. Or, they might feel ready to sit in a regular chair and can’t quite relay the message to you. 

Getting Too Big For the High Chair

One of the most noticeable signs that your child is ready to stop using a high chair is that they are outgrowing it. You might see that the straps on your child’s high chair are getting tight, or your child is nearing the weight limit. 

Also, as I mentioned above, your child might start fussing more if they are outgrowing the high chair because it’s uncomfortable.

Starts Unbuckling the High Chair Straps

Once your child learns how to unbuckle their high chair, you’ll want to start transitioning them out of it. 

If your child is unbuckling themselves, not only is it a sign that they are ready to stop using the high chair, but it can also be a safety issue. Most high chairs aren’t the same height as a regular chair, and you don’t want to risk your child falling out of them. 

Can Follow Simple Instructions 

Another sign that your child is ready to stop using the high chair is sitting in a dining chair for a meal without getting off of it. 

For example, if you explain to your child that they need to stay seated in the chair while eating and they can listen, then they are probably ready for the change. 

If your child loves to eat, then getting them to stay seated might not be something you’ll have to worry about.

But, if you have a picky or distracted eater, you might struggle more with this aspect. Either way, we’ll discuss some high chair alternatives in the next section.

Eats Unassisted 

The last sign that your child may be ready to stop using a high chair is that they can eat unassisted. 

If your child is excellently using utensils, tableware, or even open cups, they may be developmentally ready to stop using a high chair. 

When To Stop Using High Chair Pin Image

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What to use after a high chair? 

If your child is too big for their high chair but still a bit too small to sit on a regular dining chair, then a booster seat is what you’ll want! Here are the top three most popular options:

Booster Seat with Harness

Ingenuity SmartClean Toddler Booster Seat With 3-Point Harness

The first kind of booster seat is one with a harness. Typically booster seats that have a safety strap, like a harness, come with a 3-point harness. 

Also, most booster seats with harnesses typically have two more buckles; one buckle around the back of the chair and one underneath the seat. 

If your child needs a little more security when in a booster seat, you’ll want to get a booster seat like this one that has a harness. The 3-point harness will help your child stay in the chair while also giving them a little more steadiness.

Booster Pad

Adjustable Highchair Booster Cushion - When To Stop Using High Chair

The next type of booster seat is a booster pad. Like the booster seat above, a booster pad will typically have two buckles attached to the dining seat.

The great thing about a booster pad is that they help your child get ready for a regular dining chair; they are a simple pad that gives your child a boost. 

Our son uses this booster pad, and it has been great. We chose to use a booster seat instead of a harnessed seat because our son can easily climb onto his seat, and he doesn’t have a hard time staying seated for mealtimes. 

Also, I love that these seats are easy to clean. There have been many times that I’ve wiped it clean, but it can also be unzipped and washed that way. 

Seat that Attaches to the Table

High Chair That Attaches To Table Top

The last kind of booster seat attaches to the table. Booster seats like this one are excellent because they are space-saving and straightforward for traveling. 

Booster seats that attach to the table are great if your child needs a little help staying in their seat. Plus, because the seat is so close to the table, it can be easier for your child to reach what they need.

How do you transition out of a high chair?

Start Slow 

The key to any change in your child’s life is to start slow. If they don’t actively want to sit at the table, you’ll want to first warm them up to the idea. 

When slowly introducing your child to eating at the dining table instead of a high chair, starting with snack time or one meal can be beneficial. As they get used to eating at the table, you can add more meals without the high chair.

Scoot the High Chair Up to the Table

If space allows, take the tray off of your toddler’s high chair and scoot them up to the table. Scooting them to the table without their high chair tray will get them used to eating at the table. 

After a few days of your child eating at the table, you can try to introduce a booster seat instead of their high chair. 

Keep in mind this method only works if your toddler’s high chair can fit under your dining table. Our high chair was too tall, and my son could never get close enough to the table.

Limit Distractions

If your dining table is near a TV, make sure it is turned off while you are eating. Having quiet family time while you eat meals will help your child stay focused and in their seat.

Stay Consistent

Another helpful tip when transitioning your toddler out of their high chair is to stay consistent. The saying, practice makes perfect, has a lot of value when trying to stop using a high chair. 

The best way to stay consistent when introducing your child to a booster seat is to eat all your meals at the dining table. When you eat every meal at the table, your child gets more and more practice using their seat. 

Don’t Force It

At the end of the day, if your child isn’t ready to sit at the table without their high chair, then they aren’t ready. You won’t want to force it.

If you try to push a booster seat or regular dining chair, you might get the opposite reaction than you want. Your child might become even more attached to the high chair. Just remember that every change takes time, and your child will be ready!

When To Stop Using High Chair Pin Image

In the end, only you will know if your child is ready to transition out of a high chair. And if you’re unsure, there is no harm in trying out some of the tips above and seeing how it goes! 

If you try out a booster seat and find that your child isn’t ready after all, you will gain some perspective on what to look for before trying again. 

Before you go, check out these related articles:

What was your favorite tip regarding when to stop using a high chair? I would love to know in the comments below!

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  1. Haha we did not have to provide any encouragement at all to transition out of the high chair. Especially with the second child who just wanted to sit up at the table with his sister. They started sitting at a kids table and chairs until tall enough for the adult size dining chairs. The seats that attach to a table are fantastic for travelling or visiting friends without kids.

  2. These are great tips! We stopped using the highchair around 2 1/2 when my daughter would try to tip it over or unbuckle herself. We tried a seat that attached to a chair, but she didn’t like it, so she’s been sitting at a chair with a little cushion.

  3. Great post. My first born transitioned to a normal dinner chair when he was about 2 and a half. I am curious to see when my daughter will do it.

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