At sixteen months most toddlers will squirm at anything that stops them from tearing about the place exploring. Being constrained in his highchair for meals becomes a battleground as your toddler twists to be let out. Obviously a lot of patience is in order, but if your toddler won’t settle in the chair, it might be time to let him out and try a booster seat with a harness if he’s particularly wriggly. As well as the squirming, your toddler’s understanding is leaping ahead as he can point to body parts when you name them, photographs of relatives and characters in books. He may astonish you further when you say ‘where’s mummy’s nose?’ And he points at your nose – and you thought he only had eyes for daddy…
Try slowing down what you are saying so he hears the ends of the words. Lots of toddlers miss off the ends of words they are saying. If he mispronounces words try not to rush to correct him, just repeat what he is saying back to him using the right pronunciation, for example; if he says ‘wanna maw milw’ you can say, ‘ do you want more milk? Ok, I’ll get you a little bit more’. Always give him the chance to answer. If you say, 'have you had a nice day', even though he is too young to tell you about it, he will no doubt babble away at his own version of an answer.
Your toddler may be getting to the stage where being in a highchair seriously hinders him and he will twist and turn and fuss to be let out. Some toddlers on the other hand, will stay in their highchairs for months longer, not appearing to be bothered by it.
It is probably best if he whinges, twists and turns, to let your captive free so you all get some peace at mealtimes. It might be a good idea to sit him on a booster seat on a normal chair so he can reach the table. You may also need to use a harness for safety if you think he is boisterous enough to fall off the chair. Don’t sit toddlers on benches at the table as they are not yet used to sitting unsupported so may fall backwards. Be extra careful about what your toddler can reach if he is unrestrained. Knives, forks, tablecloth pulling and hot plates can all be dangerous.