Mealtime Positioning

When a family comes to me and says they are experiencing mealtime difficulties, one of the first things I do is ask them to send me a photo of where the child is sitting for meals. While positioning is just a small piece to the puzzle of feeding, it is a great place to start! The best position for your child to sit in is what we call the 90/90/90 position. We strive to have their hips bent at 90 degrees, their knees bent to 90 degrees, and their ankles bent to 90 degrees (feet flat on a surface).

As an adult it may be difficult to imagine why this positioning would make a difference. My favorite way to demonstrate this is to have the adults give improper positioning a try. Go sit in your usual mealtime chair, but this time raise your legs up so your feet do not touch the floor. All of the sudden your trunk stability it limited, and your core is overcompensating. It can be extremely difficult to use your arms with this lack of stability! A supported lower body can make a world of difference when it comes to mealtime difficulties.

There are many ways to encourage this positioning! Some options include booster seats or step stools. Taking boxes and filling them with books is a great DIY option. Taking a child size chair and placing it beneath the adult chair can add enough height for feet to remain flat. We still want our kids to sit at the table with the family, just with a few adjustments to ensure they are properly seated!

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