For dinner and breakfast, he eats standing at the dining table on a step stool so he can easily get down and go be busy and come back to eat. Our daughter did this at 16-17 months old. We just have on of the cheaper plastic IKEA junior chairs and our four year old still uses it and it’s awesome. They were stoked to have a real chair fit just for… Read more ». My daughter is now 4.5 years, but I could have written your post several years ago, so I can share a bit of our story and what has worked for us over the years. I don't think an 18-month-old can really grasp that kind of ''consequence,'' so I don't think saying he's done when he leaves the table is necessarily going to work well. so it's not a pain. I have an 18 month old boy, a 13 year old and another one on the way. relax about meal confinement. Spoon feeding mama, Our daughter, who is almost 3 years old, was like your son. A 16-month old friend of ours refused to eat any way other than standing. So two things you DEFINITELY do not want at the dinner table: a toddler screaming her head off in a high chair, or a toddler eating her meals on your lap. I was just coming here to recommend the same thing. My son would not sit at the table and would attempt to make his way out of the kitchen altogether. This website is for entertainment purpose only. He enthusiastically comes to the table for all meals now and eats until he is done. Strapping her in might cause some carry-over from her hatred of being “trapped” in the high chair, and as long as she’s seated close to you or your husband, she’ll be perfectly safe sitting on a regular chair. I don't believe in it. I work as a care-giver for toddlers, and the following tips have been very helpful to me when in your situation: -Cut out all snacks and create a rigid feeding schedule (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner) and stick to it for a while. One other thing that has been working lately to get him to eat a good variety is to shape his meals into fun pictures. I wish I could tell you that he sits politely and eats with us at every meal but instead we've all made some compromises and as he matures he wants to emulate our behavior more than fight us-- and he's at a healthy weight so it could be worse. Perhaps if your son is still in a high chair it would be better to move him to a booster so he is more part of the table. If you’re new here, you may not know that one of the best first strategies I share is spacing your child’s meals 2.5 – 3 hours apart with no snacking in between but water. Try to hang on to what is most important to you about mealtime in the meantime. If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice[at]gmail[dot]com. In order to get the Yay Drink buff, they have to be in a high chair. It turned out none were, in this particula r group. (My nephew will still sit in his high chair at 4 so every kid is different.) It might be time for a booster seat, similar to the plastic ones that are in restaurants. It sounds like she wants to be closer to the two of you when she eats -- the distancing of the highchair is perhaps making her feel left out. If your toddler is getting too big for his high chair, it's time for a feeding seat. Initially, we would still put food in her mouth while she played with her toys or read or drew on her placemat, but she sat for increasingly longer periods of time and eventually started picking food off her plate as she played. Good luck!! Just be clear and cheerful about it, it will work! Ask your toddler to put his plate on the table, create a ritual. The same thing happened with my son. We struggled with it because we did not want to let him run around with food in his mouth, and it is awkward eating with a toddler on your lap. We allow our daughter to get out of the chair during… Read more », All three of my kids have gone through this lap-sitting phase around the same age, maybe until about age 2. I would recommend a youth chair….we use one that my dad made, but they have some at IKEA now too. If I were you, I would try a booster seat or using the high chair without the tray at the table with a plastic placemat. Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike. He eventually snapped out of it around 19 months, BUT…BUT we never relented by letting him wander around or sit in the grownup chair on his own. With the second we let it happen occasionally. You can read more at http://www.ellynsatter.com/. They include safety straps to ensure your that chair won’t slide forward and act as a standard high chair would. He may feel somewhat precarious in his high booster seat, strapped onto a chair. They can get up from the table, but the food stays there. So hang in there, these little guys won't let themselves starve as long as quality food is offered. The boys will sit together for breakfast, as well. If you refuse to eat in your chair, it’s ok, you won’t eat! "Twenty minutes in a high chair is about all you can reasonably expect from a toddler," Post warns. She won't sit in the booster seat. This happened to us EXACTLY at the same time as you. They can sit in a chair without the worry of falling a few feet to the ground. Connecting with your child before mealtime will significantly reduce dinnertime battles. I wouldn't mind them except that's it's difficult to keep the toddler I started out with your philosophy, but quickly realized that it was not working for us. We're all delighted--the booster chair is a lot easier to clean. While she was strapped in, we attempted to go about supper as usual, but she didn’t seem to take the hint. So, it all seems to have worked fine. Getting my 19-month-old to … He'll sit in his chair at the table and eat maybe 1-3 bites then he's off running and says he's not hungry. These are also great to have for coloring/Play-Doh or playdate snack times. One book that really helped me (and I was very emotional about this issue at the time) was ''Child of Mine'' by Ellen Satter. The key to him eating super well is for him to be otherwise engaged and active. -When you serve meals, put the healthiest items on the plate first. I've got some more ideas on foodlerkids.com, a blog I just started this summer. Her basic rule is parents are in charge of what, when and where the kid eats (making sure at least one item on the table is something the child likes), and the kid is in charge of whether and how much to eat. It’s capable of holding up to 250 lbs, but you would need a very narrow behind to fit in it. Good news, she potty trained early because she didn’t like diapers. I’ve been a huge fan of your common-sense “good enough” parenting advice since I found your Weekly Pregnancy Calendar. The issue is now that my husband and I are at odds with how to handle this. That does not appear to be the case. I think your daughter may simply be ready for the next step. He won't starve to death, and if he says later that he is hungry, remind him that mealtime is for eating and next time he can stay longer at the table and eat more. My 2.5 year old will not sit still for dinner--if it's in her highchair she climbs up and sits on the edge, and then stands up so we have to get her down or fear she'll fall; if it's the dining room table, she stands up on the chair, or gets down, if it's in one of our laps, that lasts for a bite. My younger kid only wanted to sit on a regular chair at the table like his big brother. How about a different kind of chair? Bridget, Hi there, My daughter (now 27 months) has been like this as well and was something like how you describe your son when she was 18 mos old. Soft Portable Booster Seats and Toddler Trays Are you tired of frustrating meal Novelty works wonders when your child is unhappy, whether you’re in a stroller in a store, a grocery cart or a high chair at a restaurant. He hasn't tried to control us since. Even a high-tech high chair can’t prevent the mess, but it can make clean up less excruciating, thanks to dishwasher- and machine washable-friendly parts and a little magnetic magic. We were lucky that he never figured out the buckles though, you've got me on that one. And once they leave the table, the meal's over. S, Agree with Traci about the Keekaroo. I told him he had two choices: sit at the table and eat with us or sit in the bedroom by himself. This is not only a choking hazard, it’s also counter-productive, as the more you allow him to do it, the less likely it is that he’ll ever consent to being placed in a highchair at mealtimes! So she will have gone to bed without dinner for two nights in a row now (though she still got her bottle before bed). Our solution was to get rid of the high chair. He straightens and tenses his entire body which makes it very dangerous to try and hold him I’m all about choosing my battles, but getting her to continue forward with building independence seems pretty important, so I hate to keep giving in to her demands to sit in my lap during meal times. We had one of these and it worked great for our toddler who REFUUUUUUSED to sit anywhere but in a regular chair sans booster, even though his chin barely cleared the table. mama to another active 2-year-old, I highly recommend Ellyn Satter's book ''Child of Mine'' for feeding strategies. He loves his new booster seat so much! I was recently at her house for dinner. Your child may resist a few times, so don’t use any force. Done force feeding, I know how you feel! Chances are your toddler isn't ever getting that hungry because snacks are always available. I just kept reminding him it was an age thing and it got much better eventually. We started putting her toys and books on the dinner table and also bought some coloring place mat-pen sets. Also, we set up a booster chair for him, which he took to very well. I'm going through the exact same thing right now. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. Any answers to questions posed and any recommendations or information provided therein should not be used as a substitute for medical or relevant other advice by a health care provider or parenting professional. Lots of luck! She was excited to receive the seat as a present, and now uses it regularly in her own home. He screams at the top of his lungs when I tell him no. However my son, who is 18 mths now, does NOT do well in a booster seat. Our son - now 3.5 - still plays while eating and while we feed him. I am happy to say that now she happily sits in her seat and eats (still lightly, and occasionally fed by me) but she does eat. We were about to have another baby though, and figured we couldn't do this forever. The compromise worked well for my sanity. __________________________________________________________________ As my toddlers grew older, the rules changed. We serve their food on the small table and let them go wash their hands, sit and eat. Snappy seat (snaps onto the table)? And when they are hungry, they are even less willing to calm down and eat. Your husband is doing the age-appropriate and pediatrician-recommended style of feeding your kid. Many kids this age won't sit still. When your toddler is big enough to sit on a regular chair, the legs of the high chair can separate from the seat, and the seat can be placed on the chair to be used as a booster seat. Hi My 19 month old little boy will not sit in his highchair which makes me resort to feeding him on my lap in front of the tv!! This phase drove my husband a little nuts because he came from a big family that ate at 6 pm sharp every day. Now we don’t care. Learning to sit up is an important and exciting skill for babies to develop, but it doesn’t happen overnight. My little one will sit in his highchair, eating at home or out for about 30 minutes. And yes, she under-ate all the time. I serve a midday meal (which I call a snack) on a cool plate on his play table and he helps himself as he plays throughout the day. NOT a big deal! Sit next to your child and continue to challenge him to sit still. You can find used ones at Darla's on San Pablo in El Cerrito or in the secondhand section of Baby World in Oakland. We actually changed our directions to our nanny to not feed them lunch at the park or snacks when they're out and about to help get our friend's child better on track for eating full meals. Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty. Remove the demon high chair torture device! Instead, gently enforce the idea of eating being equated with sitting on a high chair in his small head. My hope is that even if they don't eat very well, they'll still start with the most nutrient dense items. Nope. An unbending, absolute No getting up with food rule must accompany this approach. Toddlers at that age are just too excited about exploring life to sit and eat, like, at all! All of a sudden my soon-to-be 15-month-old daughter refuses to eat in her high chair. We ended up feeding her "on the run" too (pretty much chasing her around and putting food in her mouth) and did so until recently because it was the easiest way for us to feel like she was getting enough nutrition. “3) Alternatively, if you don’t want to buy any additional gear, you can boost her up old-school style on a phone book (WHY DO THEY STILL MAKE THOSE?) We make sure they get nice and hungry, by limiting snacks. She sat better in the Keekaroo vs her new oxo booster due to the foot rest, now she’s very wiggley. She's incredibly well behaved in every other aspect, she's definitely getting enough healthy food to eat throughout the day and speaks and understands clearly when we talk to her--she just doesn't follow our request/insistence/firmness/nicely asking/etc to sit down to eat for a few minutes. -Best wishes! What I did with all three of mine was to put out food on a low table where my toddler could eat it. Parents voted these high chairs the best of 2020. Bento forks helped initially but he no longer needs the enticement. Like your son, sitting in the high chair would last for about 15 seconds, and ''meals'' consisted of 2-6 bites. http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/parenting/feeding-infants- toddlers/grazing Your son will be able to sit for meals when he's older. We do often read to her (if only one parent is present) Recently we have worked on including her in dinner conversation- if my husband and I are talking alone, she usually wants to leave the meal. When we let him dictate any one of our responsibilities, meals become the kind of struggle you describe. One thing was he was entering a clingy phase, which just happens throughout their young life. An 18-month-old is still a baby, for all practical purposes and intents. mother-of-mealtime-daredevil. Get prepped for your tot's move to the dinner table with these feeding seat options. Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. Your child will only become increasingly more obnoxious with ridiculous battles for the next few years. I think she enjoyed the physical challenge of getting herself out of her high chair and she has never liked confinement (car seat for only short trips when she was that age). My son is now 5 years old and we have a pretty calm dinnertime but at 18 months it was all about how much food I could get in his piehole before he took off or basically got too nutty in his booster seat. I think if you push harder on getting the child to stay confined during eating, you're just creating unnecessary misery for all, just so you can ''win.'' There is no other distraction (no TV, no computer, no cell phone) allowed at the dinner table. He won't sit in the high chair, he crawls around the booth. I think you are on the right track and it is time ask your husband to get off the floor and sit at the table East Bay Mom, I remember those days well. Most times we would put some food on a small table and let him come by and snack as he played. As she got a little older (over 2) we would often hold her on our lap to eat. She does sit still (now in booster seat) better than she did when she was younger. he sat at the table. -Involve them in the dinner prep-process. So far (just two nights right now), we have told her that if she doesn't sit in the high chair, she won't get dinner. The phase isn't ending because he has learned that mom and dad will follow him around feeding him and he doesn't have to sit down to eat. Leave it to Melissa & Doug to create a fun, functional, high-quality toddler chair. At first he spent more time playing than eating but that is definitely changing and its so much easier not to fight over every bite. […]. best wishes eat, eat, eat. If you see a link to a retailer, please assume that it is an affiliate link. And I guess some parents are more successful at ''making'' their kids sit still. What worked for us was to have a plate of food that she could come back to, ie I would stay at the table and she would run around and then come back for bites as needed. My daughter did this. I thought it would be a problem to keep them in bed(or sitting at the table in this case). They learn how to make conversation, they learn table manners and they learn to take time to eat and possibly avoid the habit of constant snacking. It’s heavy enough that they can’t really push away from the table, but it’s more of a “real chair” look and gets them up to the right height. He sits in his booster seat and cannot really leave the table on his own once he's sitting down. I usually see results immediately, if not by the end of the week. We praise him for his cooperation and he is very proud of himself! The conversion is easy to do and only takes about 20 seconds, and the best part is you don’t need any tools to do it. Sur La Table has a great selection of individual metal cutters for $1 so you can find something he's really into (trains, dinosaurs, you name it). I have looked through the Smackdown questions but I can’t find one related to this phase we seem to be in the middle of with our 17-month old daughter (only child). Your child's behavior is appropriate for his age. '', I know he's hungry (and as a toddler he already eats next to nothing), so it's frustrating! The battles were so annoying. Here’s one from IKEA: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90146456/ Should we put him back into a high chair so the tray will keep him confined? I worry that this will be never-ending now that he has my husband ''trained. So we worked on how to get her to eat more than 1-3 bites at each meal, and made sure those 3 bites were as nutrient dense as possible. Looking back, I believe she wanted to sit at the table, rather than off to the side in the high chair. We took off his high chair tray and let him join us at the table at his own setting, and I vowed to avoid letting him eat alone. He absolutely hates being strapped in anywhere – car seat, pram, high chair. She just may want to be more a part of the dinner table family. She was happy as a lark! If she wanders with food she gets a warning and it is taken away until she sits. If your baby is able to sit up by themselves and starting to eat solid foods, it’s probably time to consider adding a high chair to your kitchen set-up. But there are some other alternatives: 1) A dining booster seat attached to a regular chair. He never really did that well in one to begin with...help! Could he be overtired as is sometimes the case with very active children and adults? She loves Dora so much that she can't wait to sit down and eat on Dora. She just doesn’t want to be confined while she eats. I had 3 and 4 year old boys over and they were so excited to sit in his chair which I adjusted for them. If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected]. It is definitely not a battle to fight. I think it's temperament. However, we gave in on the lap when he wanted it, and he just grew out of it eventually. I don't think your kid is ''training'' you in some manipulative way. They chat back and forth (toddlerese), share food and generally have a great time. I’m hoping that this is just a short phase that will be over by the time you get to answer this, but I would love to hear your thoughts. Anyway, best of luck. He tested his control and I brought him to the room and closed the door for two and a half minutes. If your child won’t sit in a booster, but you’re not comfortable with them sitting at the tall kitchen chairs, then a child-size set of table and chairs may be a great alternative. She stopped screaming and ate her supper just fine when I took her out of the high chair and put her in my lap. When he gets up and says he isn't hungry, believe him. These expert ideas for fostering good mealtime habits will help. The one place she sits still briefly, is on a little chair we have on the deck where we have a small end table that's just her size. They can also look cute napping, crying, or when they are babbling to themselves in the high chair. Good luck! It sounds a bit harsh to me. But their tiredness/hunger manages the problem naturally. Lots of young toddlers reject the high chair at some point — it cramps their newfound independence, makes them feel different/distant from parents or siblings, or they’ve correctly identified it as a “baby” thing and I NOT A BABY. My 2.5 year old is picky, especially when he's not really hungry. This toddler chair is durable, light weight, and has -Run, swim, play! All Rights Reserved. Chances are your child isn’t sitting at an appropriate eating height at your table. But the concession needs to be an alternative other than your lap. Not sure how you feel about having your son play while he sits at the dinner table with you, but hopefully he will start playing less and eating more as time goes by. Hi, you don't say whether you let your son play at the dinner table. Good luck! and so when she only gained 3oz between 12 and 15 months we were referred to Children's Hospital dieticians. Instead, try to make it mandatory for him to sit on the high chair while eating. He keeps standing in it and dropping food. The tray of this high chair is easy to remove with one hand, which Pampers Parents loved, and its insert is dishwasher-safe. Thanks! With the first kid we died on our sword over not doing it and eventually relented. Hi, my 17 month old hates his high chair and won’t get in. I think if you check out Dr. Sear's books, he says this is normal and you can set up healthy snacks at a table for them to snack on as they move around (avocado cubes, shredded cheese, small pieces of fruits and veggies, etc.). Since it is just an age thing and he won't be eating like this at 8 years old, I lean towards your husband's laid back approach of feeding him where and when you can. Also, on the advice of a dietician we tried to add fat/calories to every meal. I think withholding food from a toddler would not work as a punishment. Then I bought her a Dora mat. It’s your choice and that’s ok. He especially enjoys when his older brother is with us for meals (I share time with his dad) as there is additional interaction, conversation, fun at the table. We just transitioned our 4 year old out of it so we can hide a bit so it won’t be “hers” when the baby is ready for it. If you think that may be the case, a suggestion would be reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I am under no illusion that he will remain compliant in his booster seat for 10-20 minutes for every meal, but it's to the point now that 30 seconds after putting him into his booster seat he goes wild, unbuckles himself (he's figured out the safety straps), stands up, and tries to jump out. Convertible High Chair: These chairs can stand alone or be placed on top of a dining room chair. She finds some obvious delight and joy in moving and exploring and I don't have the hear to squelch it. It can be very vexing. Re: Toddler won't eat or sit in highchair by DandelionFrosting » 10 Nov 2013, 23:59 It might not be applicable, but Saurus is about the same age, and I've found that he will happily sit in his high chair, but only if I let him climb up into it by himself. That way he feels like he is sitting at the table like a big boy, rather than off in the corner in his high chair. I’m going to lay the blame on good old classic toddler independence, rather than teething or the addition of utensils. From that I realized that we primarily had a behavior issue that was leading to a nutrition issue. Since you are asking for advice, I am going to be straightforward here and say you really need to relax and adjust your expectations. This is so very important, because you’re setting your child’s appetite up to be cyclical and not random. We had screaming with the high chair for a bit and refusal to go in it. One thing was he was entering a clingy phase, which just happens throughout their young life. There is a desert reward if he eats a meal but usually he's not that interested in it so I don't force the food. I'd say -- choose your battles. If your baby won’t sit in his highchair, DON’T: let him eat whilst crawling or toddling around. Maybe this strategy will work for you. At 18 months many are so much more into being mobile and exploring that food time is just too boring. Time to ditch the high chair — it’s okay, it had a good run. And further, 2 is still pretty young, and I would have no qualms about feeding more bites if your son gets tired of feeding himself. She still says its her favorite food. 2 Read aloud to your child. We did work on eating meals together, and she still will not eat if she is the only one eating. However my son, who is 18 mths now, does NOT do well in a booster seat. Any tips on what we can do to resolve/avoid some of this chaos and get back to our normal, not-screamy suppers? Booster chair? Your post is not shocking at all! They will totally sit in my lap and eat the same food off of my plate. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama... Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. For dinners, my toddlers would always be willing to sit for a minute or two, but we then just accepted the toddler coming in for a bite then running off after he'd been excused. That’s literally the ONLY thing we have changed in her recent dining experience. When the high chair is too small, the booster seat too babyish and your child is not tall enough to reach the table – family dining can become hard work. 2) If she’s resistant to sit in/on anything other than a “regular” grown-up chair, you can try a Kaboost under-chair booster. For us this is one of those small stages that shall pass, eventually. Your husband is not ''training'' your son to be a manipulative little brat who is going to expect to be fed whenever and wherever he wants. She has been cutting a tooth, but they haven’t really affected her like this in the past. Plus it doesn't set a good precedent for eating generally. His friend is about a month older and his parents have had some difficulties getting him to eat meals consistently. We try to always eat at the same time, thereby creating a routine. Expensive but very worth it, as it looks like furniture and grows with a kid. Up until now, she has always been a great eater and easily transitioned from purees to finger foods, preferring the control she has with them. Our 27 month old son has always been an active, busy, energetic boy. That means that wh… My husband and I have redoubled our efforts to eat meals at the kitchen table together and encourage our son to sit with us and eat, or at least sit with us for a few minutes (baby steps). Our highchair has gone into temporary storage in the basement. LogicalMama. He’ll sit for a few minutes then scream his little head off until mum lets him out. Using up lots of energy, running, swimming, and exploring before meal time is the best thing I can do to get children to eat and not try to wander away from the table. It is up to parents to socialize their children and teach manners and wanted behaviors for reasons of family harmony and social lubrication. High chairs are for babies!f For the record, the same thing happened to my neighbor. No. So yeah. You may want to borrow one from a friend and see whether your daughter takes to it. Has erratic feeding habits'' Andi, I do not think your experience is shocking, I think it is pretty common. I also remember at age 2 my daughter preferred to eat sitting on my lap, so we did that for a few months, and then phased back into her own chair. It seems to empower them by not relying on us to get them into and out of a confining chair. The other was that he saw his older sister sitting in a regular chair. “Short phase?” Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! She isn't like some of the kids I see in restaurants who seem to stay tied into their seats for ages. Children want their parent’s attention more than anything in the world. She will, however, have a bite of food, run down the hall, run back and have more food. Our problems were compounded by the fact that she was very low on the growth chart (1%), labelled ''failure to thrive'' (despite being ahead on all physical and cognitive scales) and so we were pretty much ordered to get food in her however we could. We have affiliate revenue relationships with Amazon, and with other retailers that are handled by third parties like Skimlinks, RewardStyle, Commission Junction and Linkshare. It’s another mealtime battle to fight, but it’s a more worthy one than trying to cram a stiff-as-a-board screaming child into a high chair she’s probably close to outgrowing anyway.

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