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June 13, 2018

Reasons to Love Montessori Friendly Highchairs + Some Options

When I first got pregnant with my oldest, I got a regular old high chair for him. Knowing nothing about Montessori, it was a standard high chair meant to contain and feed a baby. It was too tall for our table. And not at all designed for any sort of independent use. It was meant for me to place him in, strap him down and feed him. Before Nora was born, I knew the chair was not going to be a choice we made twice and we sold it in favor of a Montessori weaning table

A three picture series of a young toddler climbing into a Montessori friendly highchair independently to sit at the family table for a meal.

For well over a year, our little family of four sat together at the children's table for every meal. This way the kids ate independently, yet we were all together. It worked, even if it wasn't the most ideal. When Gus was approaching the time to eat, I was lucky enough to find a Svan High Chair at a consignment sale. I knew immediately it was for us. 

(2023 Update - The Svan High Chairs are no longer being sold, but can sometimes be found used. We loved them for years, but have since replaced with Stokke Steps Chair)

Why Should You Try a Montessori Friendly Highchair?

There are so many reasons to love Montessori friendly highchairs. We have used these now for several years, and I think I actually prefer them to using a weaning table at all. Here are some benefits to using this style highchair to feed your baby and toddler: 

  • Everyone in the family gets to be comfortable: everyone gets to be comfortably at the table together. The adults get spots that work for us, but our baby/toddler didn't have to eat alone or at a chair that didn't fit his size 
  • Language and bonding: the baby is right in the action at every family meal so they get to be a part of all the conversations, family time and bonding experiences
  • No more toddler fighting: in these chairs toddlers can climb in and out on their own. So, they are much more likely not to fight sitting at the table. Since it feels less constraining there are fewer power struggles
  • Grace and courtesy: Babies are toddlers are included in the meal from the start and can learn the manners around eating in community. While these can also be taught at a weaning table, they are more easily modeled when an adult is sitting properly. 
  • Posture: these chairs allow a child's feet to be properly supported which is very important when introducing food and in preventing choking. Many traditional chairs are too reclined or leave a child feet dangling. 

A toddler and preschooler smile while sitting in Montessori friendly highchairs at the family table while eating a meal. The children are at appropriate heights to safely eat and still have independent choice to join the meal.

  • Independent choice in amount of food: Children can more easily self-regulate the amount of food that they want to eat if they can get up and down on their own 
  • Attractive and Beautiful: these chairs are attractive and provide a nicer view than most traditional high chairs 
  • Resale value: they are more expensive but unlike regular high chairs, they can also be sold for when you're done and hold much of their value 
  • Natural consequences: these chairs are not designed to keep a child contained at all costs, so if a child is too wiggly, they find out. This natural consequence has been a powerful way to teach exactness, and care
  • Natural climbing opportunity: toddlers love to climb, and this allows the climbing to be purposeful. And, for a child like Gus where climbing doesn't come naturally, it's good confidence boost and practice for those times when he encounters more difficult climbing challenges 

Small toddler stands next to Montessori highchair and gets ready to climb.

Montessori Highchairs Options

If you're looking for a Montessori friendly high chair, here are a few to consider. Over the years, more and more of these highchairs have come on the market, so this is not a complete list of every possible option. When considering a Montessori friendly highchair: 
  1. Promotes independence: should be able to adjust as your child grows from baby through preschool while being easy to climb in and out
  2. Works with your table: it can be used right up against your table and the height works 
  3. Adjustable foot rest: for climbing and for security while eating

A collage of Montessori friendly highchair options for Montessori homes. These highchairs promote independence while still being safe for a baby or toddler.

Have you used a Montessori friendly high chair? Do you like it? 

There are so many highchair options available to consider for your baby and toddler. But, there are many benefits to trying a Montessori friendly highchair in your home. These chairs not only promote independence but provide a safe way for babies to be introduced to food.


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Sara said…
We have both a Tripp Trapp highchair and a weaning table and I love both! What sold me on the Tripp Trapp was the adjustable footrest. It is so important for children to have their feet grounded when working and eating to ensure concentration and focus. So many traditional high chairs ignore this need.
Hilary said…
Just an FYI on the Stokke Steps: I don't believe the chair part is movable - just the foot rest. Too bad, since I love the look!
golb said…
We have a similar one (from a garage sale, and have never quite figured out what kind it is), but am having trouble figuring out how to get it to work for us without the front support. Really there are two kinds of questions I'm confused about:

1. Should I remove the front support and keep "putting" our daughter up despite the fact that she can't climb in herself yet? Of course, how will she learn until I remove it? Then again, until she learns to climb up on her own, don't I risk her falling by "putting" her up? But if I don't put her up, where/how do we eat until she learns!

2. Should I keep the footrest up where it can be more useful as a footrest, or farther down where it can be more useful as a climbing step? I wish these came with two steps so that I could do both!

Any ideas would be awesome!
golb said…
I should specify that our daughter is 14 months old. Reasonably ok at climbing up stairs/coffee table/couch, but currently has no reason/opportunity to go up very high. Oh, and we have *stone* flooring. :s
Sofia said…
We use a Stokke Tripp Trapp with the front support, but my daughter (12 months) has no problem climbing the chair. She uses the front support as a hand hold when climbing. We still assist her in actually sitting down in the chair and getting out of it. And with your stone floors I would suggest putting a soft carpet under the chair :)
golb said…
Interesting! So she manages to climb "through" the leg part, or "over" the front bar? I'll try to fiddle with the height settings and see how we go -- thanks for the inspiration!