A Guide To Get Your Baby To Love Their Baby High Chair

The benefits of family dinners have long been established: families who eat together have closer relationships, eat healthier foods and appropriate portion sizes, are more adventurous eaters… the list goes on and on. It’s never too early to start gathering around the table together to eat.

But… what do you do if your baby or toddler melts down every time you put them in their high chair? With our guide, you can stop the meltdowns and make your baby love high chair time—and that means happier mealtimes for all!

Make a Solid High Chair Choice

First, let’s talk about choosing the right high chair. What features should you look for safety and convenience? When picking the best high chair for babies, choose one with a wide base so it can’t tip over easily and a five-point harness that will keep your child in a safe and secure position.

If you’re using a hand-me-down, be sure that it meets all current safety standards. If not, you should invest in a new, modern high chair that will keep your baby safe.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you never leave your child unattended in the high chair and use the safety straps each and every time your baby sits in the chair. To avoid the high chair accidentally tipping over, never let your child stand or climb on the high chair.

Beyond safety, you also want a high chair with convenient features that make it easy to use and grow with your baby. Choose a chair with an adjustable recline so you can use it with a newborn in the fully reclined positioned, then position the seat upright as soon as your baby can sit up unassisted.

For the ultimate flexibility, some high chairs convert to a feeding chair for toddlers: just remove the crotch post, harness, and tray to create a comfy seat when your child is able to sit unrestrained safely on their own. You’ll also appreciate an easy to clean high chair that can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. (Bonus points if the tray is dishwasher safe.)

5 Ways to Get Your Baby to Love Their High Chair

Mealtimes can be a struggle—but there are things you can do to make your baby fall in love with their high chair, set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits, and make meals more pleasant for the whole family. Try these five tips to make feeding time more fun:

1. Keep It Consistent

Babies and toddlers thrive on structure, so create consistent mealtime routines so they know what to expect when it’s time for family meals. Your routine can look something like this: Wash hands, play music, turn on the lights, and bring plates to the table before sitting down.

2. Think of the High Chair As an Eating Chair

Even though it might be easier to feed your baby before you sit down for your meal, get in the habit of eating together as a family. Eating together doesn’t just build strong family relationships, it can help your baby develop a healthy relationship with food.

Think of a high chair as an eating chair for baby too! As they watch you eat, your baby will learn healthy habits (be sure they see you eating—and enjoying!—your veggies), observe social interactions, and so much more.

3. Watch The Snacking

If your child doesn’t seem hungry or is uninterested in food at mealtimes, think about what they are eating during the day. You may need to cut down on between-meal snacks so they learn that meal times are for eating.

4. Phone a Friend 

If your child is really resisting the high chair, try modeling good mealtime behavior by strapping their favorite doll or stuffed animal into the high chair and “feeding” it. Let your child hear you tell the toy, “It’s time to eat!” and then “feed” the toy with your child’s utensils. Then say to your child, “Now it’s your turn!”

You can also try to associate the high chair with activities your child likes—let them paint or draw while sitting in their high chair, or strap them in and read a favorite book.

5. Bribery As a Last Resort

If all else fails, it’s okay to sometimes resort to the oldest trick in the book: bribery. If your child refuses to eat in their high chair, offer them an occasional reward—like an extra book at bedtime or a favorite toy at the table—for eating a few bites.

Make Meal Time Magic In Your High Chair

A baby high chair can keep your little one safe and comfortable at the table and make it easier for you all to enjoy mealtimes as a family. Try these tips and techniques to get your baby to love their high chair and make gathering for meals a happier time for everyone.