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June 13, 2018

Reasons to Love Montessori Friendly Highchairs + Some Options

When I first got pregnant with Henry eight years ago, 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 weaning table. 

Reasons I love Montessori friendly highchairs with my baby and toddler

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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. 

Having used the chair now for a year, I wanted to share some of the reasons I LOVE having a Montessori friendly high chair: 

  • 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 - he's been right up in the action at every family meal so he's getting to be a part of all the conversations, family time and bonding experiences. 
  • No more toddler fighting - I don't have to fight to put him in the chair, he can do it himself (starting around 13 months) so there aren't huge fights about sitting, something I struggled with a traditional high chair since it was so constraining. 
  • Grace and courtesy - Gus has gotten to be included in meal times from the start, learning grace and courtesy rules. While these can also be taught at a weaning table, they are more easily modeled when an adult is sitting properly 
  • Independent choice in amount of food - Gus can also get down from the chair when he is done eating, he learning self regulation over the amount of food, and the length of time he is eating 
  • Not ugly - the 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 
Reasons I love Montessori friendly highchairs with my baby and toddler

If you're looking for a Montessori friendly high chair, here are a few to consider. Look for something that allows your baby or toddler to be as independent as possible. This may look differently as a baby verses a toddler. I know in ours, the front supports that help to secure a baby can be removed so toddlers and preschoolers can use the chair without an adult. You also want something that is going work with your table - so something that can adjust as your child grows, but is at a good height for your table. 

Reasons I love Montessori friendly highchairs with my baby and toddler

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


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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!