Furniture Guides

How to Pick the Perfect Chair For Your Toddler’s Bedroom

Toddlers delight in imitating the grown-ups in their lives. They may have already noticed that Mommy and Daddy have their own chairs. How exciting it will be for your little "Jack" or "Jill" to have his or her own chair.

If you can take Jack along on the shopping adventure, even better. You may have already noticed that toddlers have opinions. They like one toy (one friend, one color) better than another. They certainly have no qualms about letting you know what they will and will not eat! They deserve some input into selecting their very own chair. Besides, it will be one of those "Let's make a memory" days - for both of you.

What to Look for When Shopping for a Toddler's Chair?

  • Size

This is a good reason to have Jill along on your shopping trip. You can make sure that her feet touch the ground when she's seated and that she is able to sit down and get up safely and without help.

Check the manufacturer's recommended age range and the maximum height and weight of the child using the chair. 

  • Safety

A JPMA Sea (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) ensures that the chair has been tested and meets federal and state safety standards.

Check for sharp edges and the possibility of splinters.

Make sure the chair is sturdy so that it does not tip over. Chairs with outward-pointing legs are especially stable

It is very unlikely these days to find lead-based or toxic paints used on children's furniture, but if you are buying an older chair (perhaps an antique), please make sure.

  • Material

Wood is timeless and easily matches any décor. Whether natural or painted, a wood chair has a homey, traditional feel. Look for a scratch-resistant finish.

Vinyl and foam are soft and will not hurt Jack if he falls on it.

Upholstered chairs are very soft and comfortable, but unless the fabric is easy to clean, spills or that runaway crayon may ruin it.

Metal is a durable material and can look very grown-up, but make sure there are no sharp edges.

Plastic is colorful, lightweight and budget friendly, though it may not last as long as other materials.

  • Color and Design

Early on, a child develops a liking for a particular color. Adding that color to Jill's room is a great way to bring her personality into the décor.

On the other hand, neutral shades, such as ivory or gray, go with everything should you change other elements in the room or should Jack change favorite colors. A new pillow or throw will "dress up" the neutral color.

Bold colors and ornate patterns may be tempting and Jill may insist on them. But you have to stay within reasonable limits. "Hideous" is never in style. And you have to be sure Jill does not outgrow the color and design before she outgrows the chair.

If there are already a variety of patterns in the bedroom, a colorful but monochrome fabric is the better choice. If the room is plain, then the little chair in a lively colorful pattern, such as stripes or polka dots, will give that bedroom a whole new lease on life!

If the chair is going to be against a light wall, choose a dark color; for a dark wall, a light color. The contrast will make the chair pop.

Toddlers love themes and characters. Simply find out which are Jack's favorites - sports, super heroes, rockets. But similarly to bold colors above, you have to make sure his interest is likely to last as long as the chair. 

  • Styles

This may be the most difficult part of choosing a chair. There are so many adorable styles: toddler recliners, rocking chairs, arm chairs and bean bags among them. For an efficient shopping trip, have at least a preference when you start out.

Floral Kids Club Chair
Kids Club Chair in Blue
Unicorn Character Kids Chair

recliner">Toddler Recliner

A recliner is one of the best ways for Jill to both play and relax after playtime. She might even want to nap in it. You will not have to worry about it tipping over due to the sturdy hardwood frame - even if Jill isn't one for sitting still. There are also no sharp edges. Additional features include cup holders and storage space in the arms.

Oak Wood Children Recliner
Children Recliner in Pink
3 in 1 Fold Out Monkey Toddler Recliner
Panda Shaped Toddler Recliner

Recliners come in various styles:

  • Pushback on which you recline by holding onto the arms and pushing against the back.

  • Lever- and Handle-Operated that have a lever, handle or pull loop to release the reclining mechanism.

  • Power recliners that operate with the push of a button.

  • Legs Only Recliners on which the back does not move, the footrest extends to support the legs.

  • Lay-Flat Recliners extend completely flat for those afternoon naps.

Click here for a wide variety of toddler recliners.


Armchairs come in many different styles. The common denominator is, obviously, they have arms and also they tend to be upholstered and cushioned. The arms give Jack a little extra support getting into and out of the chair. 

Maybe Jack wants a miniature version of Dad's chair, maybe a "for kids only":

  • Wingback chairs have a high back, sides that jut out like wings and wooden legs. They are very "grown up" and, if the correct size is purchased, might last through the preschool years into the start of grade school. They are comforting chairs: the sides create the feel of a cocoon for a youngster.

  • Club chairs are what we automatically think of when we say "armchair." They have a wide solid wood frame with thick padding and rolled arms for the ultimate in comfort that Jill can snuggle into.

Kids Club Chair in Brown
  • Swivel armchairs are a combination of a club chair and a rocking chair, except it swivels 360 degrees without rocking or tilting.  Kids love to spin - think of the carnival rides - and spinning, in moderation, has unexpected benefits, such as using both the left and right sides of the brain.

  • Specialty chairs are adorable. They come in fabric designs of Disney characters, super heroes, Sesame Street and shapes of a baseball mitt and any sports ball imaginable. They are an easy choice. It's a tiny risk that the selected theme will lose favor far too soon.

Rocking Chairs

A rocking chair is the perfect solution for the toddler who cannot sit still. Jill can sit down and relax comfortably, but still work off some of that excess energy. Toddlers who are more sedate also love a rocking chair. It's soothing as it moves back and forth and it's fun.

  • Upholstered rocking chairs have the same cushy comfort as a club chair but with two curved slats ("rockers") connecting the legs on each side. The rockers touch the floor at two points, so that Jack need only shift his weight or push lightly with his feet to rock.

  • Traditional spindle rocking chairs have a curved high back, a sculptured seat, and wide curved arms - all for maximum comfort. They are fashioned from cherry, walnut, maple or poplar wood. The thing about the spindle rocking chair is that Jack may hand it down to his grandchildren. They tend to become family heirlooms.

  • Victorian wicker rocking chairs also give you a choice of woods, all of which make a sturdy and long-lasting addition to Jill's bedroom. The seat is upholstered polyester and very comfortable. Another chair that could/should be handed down.

Modern Kids Rocking Chair
Classic Kids Rocking Chair in White

Bean Bag Chairs

Bean bags are fun, comfortable, space-saving and inexpensive chairs. They are "anatomic," meaning that they will mold to Jack's body shape, whether he sinks into it or leans back. Buy a size a bit larger so he doesn't outgrow it too fast. You will likely find him dragging his own personal bean bag around to watch TV or to use outside when the weather is nice, if the fabric permits. Linus has his security blanket; Jack will have his security bean bag!

Owl Super Soft Plush Bean Bag
Owl Super Soft Plush Bean Bag
Small Velvet Bean Bag Chair for Kids
Small Velvet Bean Bag Chair for Kids

The exterior fabric runs the whole gamut: faux leather and suede, synthetic fur, vinyl, corduroy, cotton, velvet and chenille. The interior may be filled with styrofoam with leather edges, polystyrene or shredded foam. The bean bags can be round or square or in special shapes and designs, such as balls (e.g., baseball, basketball, soccer ball); dogs, cats, bears, and pigs; Disney characters; and even Spongebob Squarepants.

Tips for Teaching Your Toddler to Sit on a Chair

  • Start by having him sit still on your lap.

  • Have him sit on the chair and read his favorite story. 

  • When he sits in the chair, praise him.

  • If your toddler absolutely refuses to sit on the chair, maybe he is uncomfortable. Make sure his back is supported and add soft cushions to see if that helps.

  • You need patience. Your toddler will sit on a chair at some point. Do not force it. Do not make it an unpleasant experience. Practice every day if only for a few minutes at a time.

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