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Toddler Transitions at the Table

Henry is almost 18 months old. He is definitely a fully mobile toddler now. With this new stage comes new freedoms and even a little bit of responsibility. For mealtime at our house, that means moving from a highchair to a booster seat and learning to set the table.
Henry has a new seat at our kitchen table.
A few weeks ago, we decided to see if Henry was ready to leave his highchair behind. A neighbor handed down a very convenient and portable booster seat that I have been anxious to try out. We put a small footstool next to our dinette bench so Henry can climb up into the booster seat without needing our help. Henry quickly figured out just what to do.
Henry's new booster seat is a perfect fit!
I like giving Henry the independence to seat himself at the table and to get down by himself when our meal is complete. Since Henry is usually very focused on eating at meals, I'm not worried about him dashing off in the middle of dinner to play. I trust that he knows when he has had enough, and is ready to leave the table. As I've written about before, we do not offer snacks between meals. Henry understands that if he leaves the table then the meal is over and he will need to wait until the next meal to eat again.
Henry helps set his place at the table.
We've also started encouraging Henry to help set the table. He is very excited to bring his own plate, cup, and fork or spoon to the table. I hope it helps Henry to feel like he is contributing to our family's mealtime preparations. My next step is to relocate his dinnerware to a cupboard that Henry can easily access on his own.

As you child grows older, how has their role changed at the family dinner table?


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