Seating for Mealtimes

Enrichment Therapies

March 29, 2017

By: Megan Van Laar, M.A., CCC-SLP

I am about to become a mom and I am completely overwhelmed by all the different high chairs and booster seats that are on the market (let alone all the other baby gear).  I literally have been spending hours agonizing over all the choices out there.  Mamas and Daddies- I don’t know how you make any decisions!! Thankfully, I do know the importance of proper seating at mealtime for children and I have some cheap and easy tricks to achieve this.  Read on: If a child does not have proper stability while sitting and eating, it is much more difficult for him to focus on hand-to-mouth coordination and chewing.

  • The child should be sitting in the 90-90-90 position.  This means he should have a 90-degree angle at his hips, a 90-degree angle at his knees, and a 90-degree angle at his ankles.
  • The child should be forward enough so that his knees are over the edge of the seat. The table or tray should be in between the child’s belly button and breast level.

In order to create this proper position, you may need several things:

  • A booster seat will allow a smaller child to sit higher at the table.  A wedge can be placed behind the chair so that he is forward enough to bend his legs over the edge of the chair.  You can use a styrofoam wedge that you would find at a craft store.
  • The child will likely need a footrest and you can create the perfect height by duct taping phone books together.  If your child sits in a high chair, make sure he has a footrest that is substantial enough for his whole feet to rest on.  If a child’s feet are dangling, he doesn’t have a feeling of stability.
  • You may also find it helpful to place a piece of shelf liner on the seat of your child’s chair so that he doesn’t slip and slide around.  

The proper seating position is so important for your child.  It helps support his breathing, it allows your child to feel safe and secure so he can focus on eating, and it leads to better hand-to-mouth coordination and chewing. If you have questions about your child’s seating at the meal table or concerns regarding your child’s eating, give us a call!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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