QuestionsI read that there is a connection between the height of my toddlers high chair, messy eating and learning words -do you know anything about this? (question emailed in to Riverside Cares)
Riverside Cares Staff asked 5 months ago
1 Answers
Riverside Cares Staff answered 5 months ago

Emma: Thanks for getting in touch.  We’re not aware of a potential link between these factors.  Messy eating is a typical part of children’s early exploration with food.  If the high chair is being put up against a table, then it’s possible that this could impact the amount of mess or, rather, where the mess ends up.  Mealtimes can be great for helping children to learn words as it’s another everyday encounter where a caregiver is talking to their child.  Keep it up.
Jill:  Yes – agreed, Emma. There is a 2013 study which explored some of the differences between children being fed at a table versus children being fed in a high chair combined with the families in the sample group putting special emphasis on naming the foods and keywords during the meal. That sample group was too small to come to a real conclusion though it did bring up an interesting aspect of weaning and language. What I took away from it that it may be that children placed in highchairs may be interacting with their surroundings and exploring, at the same time their food in a different way to children sitting lower than eye level  in chairs. Clearly eating and interacting is a building block in a child’s understanding of the world around them. 
The idea that child learn best from concrete activities e.g. actually seeing, touching and doing has been well established. But it’s nice to know research backs up the importance of making a mess:)
The research itself comes across as very technical but this article sets it out more clearly https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/developmental-benefits-messy-eating-toddlers/
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