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The Best Seating for Toddlers at the Big Kids Table

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

Family seating at the dining table

While toddler play should generally take place on the floor for family, mealtime games, and arts and crafts activities, everyone, including your toddler, should sit comfortably at the same table. In this blog post, we'll explore seating options available to ensure your child's comfort, postural support, and ergonomic well-being as they grow.

The Importance of Proper Seating

Proper seating is not just a matter of comfort; it plays a vital role in your child's development. Seating that promotes a strong upright posture and alignment helps to provide the foundation for essential fine motor skills. Here are two options to ensure your child's back and feet receive the support they need for healthy sitting habits.

Create a Comfortable Seating Arrangement

One way to achieve ergonomic seating for your toddler is to use pillows, cushions, and boxes strategically. By placing these items under your child, you can ensure that their feet are flat on the floor, with their hips, knees, and ankles at 90-degree angles and bent elbows 2” below the tabletop. This DIY approach allows for flexibility in adjusting the seating arrangement as your child grows and managing optimal seating wherever you are.

Here's how you can set it up:

  • Place a cushion or pillow on the chair seat. Some options we like are Sit n’ Move Cushion Junior and Core Disc.

  • Add boxes under your child's feet so that they are flat on the floor with hips, knees, and ankles at 90 degrees. A non-slip mat under the box will ensure that it doesn’t slip and slide.

  • To ensure that your child's back is well supported, place a firm cushion or pillow behind them to fill in the gap between their back and the chair's back.

For a more permanent and ergonomic solution at home. I highly recommend the Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair. I have 2 in my home and 2 in my office and recommend them to my own adult children for their kids.

Here's why I love the Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair as a mom, grandma and pediatric occupational therapist:

  • Tripp Trapp chairs are versatile and easy to use.

  • The seat and foot plates are easy to adjust with an Allen wrench, allowing the chair to grow with your child.

  • Tripp Trapp chairs promote proper posture and encourage your child to sit with their feet flat and hips, knees, and ankles at 90-degree angles.

  • They provide ergonomic support for babies through adulthood, making them a worthwhile long-term investment.

  • They are sturdy and durable, but expensive, so you might want to register for one as a baby gift.

Bonus Information: Signs of Poor Trunk Control

While choosing the right chair is essential, it's equally important to be aware of signs that may indicate your child’s trunk control is weak. If you notice any of the following, ask your occupational therapist to check the fit of your child's chair and table:

  1. Leaning the arms or body on the table: This can be a sign that your child is struggling to maintain an upright position due to a weak core and/or inadequate support.

  2. Resting the head on the hands: When a child constantly rests their head on their hands, it may indicate a weak core. Supporting the head with the hands may be compensation for poor trunk control.

  3. Constantly changing sitting positions: Frequent shifts in sitting positions can be a sign that your child is struggling to stay upright because of core weakness or weak sensory processing.

  4. Sliding off of the chair: When children slide off their chairs inadvertently, it may be an indication that they don't sense gravity and do not have the impetus to fight gravity to remain upright.

  5. Constant movement in the chair: often indicates a struggle to fight gravity to remain upright. It may be a compensatory strategy for weak sensory processing, poor balance, or a weak core.

Ensuring that your toddler has the right seating arrangement at the grown-up table is essential to supporting a strong core, postural control, and fine motor development. Whether you opt for a DIY approach with pillows and cushions or invest in a Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair, the goal is to provide ergonomic support that promotes good posture, motor skills, and attention.

Each child is unique, and their needs may vary. If you notice signs of core weakness, poor trunk control, poor posture, or any other concerns related to your child's seating habits, consult with a pediatric occupational therapist to assess your child's individual needs and provide personalized guidance and strategies to support their development.


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