Monday, April 29, 2013

A High Chair for Independence

I'm so glad that Matt and I invested in the Tripp Trapp high chair for Henry. It's recommended within the Montessori community because it facilitates and supports a child's independence. From a young age, they can begin climbing in and out of it independently. It also slides right up to the table to help the child feel like part of the family. The chair grows with the child and can be used for many years (since children are too short to sit comfortably in a regular chair for quite a while).

As we prepare to welcome a new baby into our family, I've been thinking about the high chair situation. If we tried to move Henry into a booster seat, I feared that he wouldn't be able to climb up and down independently. 

I had resolved myself to adding yet another expensive Tripp Trapp to our baby registry. 

Then we spent the weekend eating out with Matt's parents, and I watched Henry climb in and out of those wooden restaurant high chairs with complete confidence, grace, and stability. I was reminded by my friend Kelly's idea to take the bar off the restaurant-style high chair. Brilliant! 

I managed to locate one on Craigslist for $20. Now Henry can use the bar-less restaurant-style high chair and the new baby can inherent the Tripp Trapp when he's around six months-old. The only downside to the new high chair is that it's not as stable as the Tripp Trapp. Henry could surely push himself backwards by kicking off the table hard enough. It's not a deal breaker; it just means we need to be even more vigilant with supervision when he's in it.

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Rachel said...

I've always thought the Tripp Trap chairs were too expensive for what they do. Never understood why people plonk down the cash for them. We used a plastic booster (which, by the way can be climbed in and out of), followed by an IKEA junior chair.

emjs181 said...

I love the Tripp Trapp style chairs too, but there's no way it fits in our budget. We have a 20 month old, and I've been looking for a chair that I can scoot right up to our family dining table. Does your restaurant chair do that? It seems like the arms would get in the way?

Anonymous said...

I love the look of the Tripp Trap style chairs, but they are far too expensive for our lifestyle. We use an Eddie Bauer wooden high chair. My son, who is 23 months, can climb up onto it independently and it can be pushed up to the table. It comes with a tray but we don't use it since he eats at the table. We got it as a hand me down but they are A LOT less than the expensive models.

Anonymous said...

Not to disparage Tripp Trapp, but I think there are so many baby/toddler gadgets that appeal to us because we think they will foster our kids to be So!independent! (and as a mom with an only-child, I am totally guilty of falling for this marketing tactic). Then in the blink of an eye your kid is two and climbing up the walls and running up stairs and you think, "what was I trying to rush here?"


Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Rachel! I agree that the Tripp Trapp is expensive, which is why I'm glad the $20 high chair is going to work for Henry. I'm having trouble understanding how Henry could climb into a booster seat independently. Maybe it's our dining room chairs? He can climb onto them independently, but he needs to grab all the way to the back of the chair to pull himself up. A booster would be even higher, which would make it even more difficult.

Hi, emjs181! The restaurant chair doesn't scoot all the way under our table, but it gets close enough for Henry--especially since he's two.

Hi, lil'monkeysmama! I know, the Tripp Trapp is really expensive. Luckily, we saved a lot of money by not purchasing other items like a changing table, dresser, baby swing, bouncy baby seat, various strollers, baby gyms, crib, pack-and-play, bathtub, specialized diaper pail, etc. Plus, it feels better knowing that we will use it for many years.

Hi,! For me, the Tripp Trapp wasn't about trying to help Henry advance as quickly as possible; it was about meeting his needs at the right time. When he was younger, it met his need to be part of our family by being right up to the table. As he got older, it met his increasing need for independence with the wide, easy steps up to the seat. I try to feed his desire for self-care and independence in as many ways as possible; climbing in and out of his high chair is just one of those ways. I hope that makes sense!

Carrie said...

My two-year-old has been climbing into his booster seat strapped to a dining room chair for several months now. It probably does depend on yor chair style. Ours have rungs below the seat itself.

Alissa said...

I just did a quick search for the Tripp Trapp on Craigslist in my area, and found a couple - as low as $125 in great used condition(versus $249.99 new on Amazon). I always try to look at Craigslist (as you mentioned you did with the "new" high chair for Henry) and second hand stores for big ticket items.

Kelsey said...

We went with the Keekaroo high chair. It also adjusts and will promote independence but it less expensive than the Tripp Trapp.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Kelsey! Congratulations on your new arrival! I've enjoyed reading your updates. I'm glad you and Chris are adjusting more easily to life with a newborn than Matt and I did.

Thanks for sharing the chair! I hadn't heard of it before. It looks like it has all the functionality of the Tripp Trapp for more than $100 less!

Jan said...

RE: booster seats. They use the booster seat to climb up. My 2 yo, who is in the 5%ile for height (so likely much smaller than Henry!) can get into/out of the booster by herself. Our chairs do not have any rungs below the seat and are a standard height.

For anyone looking for a high chair, highly recommend the Fisher Price Healthy Booster. $30, straps onto a regular chair (so is stable and doesn't take up space), and is portable. Perfect for bringing to friends, on car trips, even to restaurants when they are young. We also really liked the tray when she was younger since it contained the mess (but she still felt like she was sitting at the table since it is fairly small). Height is adjustable. Easy to clean since it doesn't really have many crevices.

(full disclosure, I also wanted to get a used tripp trapp or keekaroo when she was little but couldn't justify buying a high chair that cost more than our entire dining set! very glad now I didn't spend the extra $$)

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