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To be irritated with parents forcing children to sit and eat at soft play

(246 Posts)
SrAssumpta Wed 15-Jul-15 14:18:08

I spent the morning in a play centre with a few other mums and our 3-4 year olds, met at half 9 and stayed about two hours.
The children weren't even playing five minutes when the other parents were calling them back over "Simon, would you like a yogurt? Come down and have some grapes", "Lucy have some crisps", "Oh darling I've gotten you a slush puppy come down and have it before it melts"
I just don't get it? We met up to let them play, why couldn't they eat at home, it's an expensive play centre why can't they make the most of it? Then a huge platter of nuggets and chips was ordered and they were made sit and eat all the greasy food on their plate and coaxed with "Go on just two more nuggets then you can go back and play"

I find it so irritating, we could have just met up for breakfast or lunch but why take children somewhere they're supposed to have fun and force them to sit down and eat?

Scottysmum2008 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:25:05

I totally get where you're coming from.
I know we all parent differently, but one of my pet peeves is helicopter parents.
The constant need to be needed when the kids need their freedom and space. Give it a while and they'll be complaining the kids are always on at them for their time, attention, to do things for them.
It's important as parents to leave the kids to it as you're in such a safe environment and have a good chin wag; the kids will say soon enough when they want a drink or food, but they do need to let off steam and if they get to do it with friends then even better.

MumOfTheMoment Wed 15-Jul-15 14:28:29

Really odd behaviour.

SrAssumpta Wed 15-Jul-15 14:38:00

Scottysmum need to be needed really does hit the nail on the head. It was almost like a competition once the first snack came out, proper little schoolbags full of stuff I just don't get why you'd want to bog yourself down so unnecessarily!
Also I notice some of them almost look for drama, "oh what happened there, I think that boy just barged past Oscar??" Oh just leave them, they're fiiiiine let them play!!

All fake names!

ASettlerOfCatan Wed 15-Jul-15 14:42:20

If you go into a play area at 9.30 (after breakfast) and leave at 11.30 (before lunch) why would a child even NEED to eat ANYTHING unless they asked? It wouldn't even occur to me to feed my child at that time tbh unless they specifically needed/asked for food and then it would be a quick snack! (Think here's a feube now sod off and play wink)

PeppaWellington Wed 15-Jul-15 14:44:48

I think this is a symptom of how you feel about these women's parenting as a whole, but wrt to getting snacks into children instead of letting them play: some children need virtually forcing to eat a snack because if they don't, they turn into total fucking demons in the blink of an eye and then you're on a spiral to tantrum hell.

I speak from experience <sobs a bit> So 'have a bit more then you can play' is what you have to do so that they don't suddenly crash because someone else went down the slide first, and it's all not fair, and they're having a terrible time and they refuse to join in with anything and sit on the floor tweaking your coat and "accidentally" kicking your chair amidst loud sniffs because everyone else wants to stay. And all the while you're thinking, fgs why didn't you just finish that bastarding banana at breakfast time and why didn't I make you finish it before we left the house and why the FUCK are you still on the floor when there is a chair right here with your drink and a sausage roll in front of it which would solve all our problems.

Again, experience.

flanjabelle Wed 15-Jul-15 14:45:07

Oh I think I might be one of these. I took dd to softplay on Monday and we stopped halfway through for a drink and she had a satsuma. She seemed to be flagging a bit though and I thought she would enjoy the rest of her time there more if she had a drink and a snack. is that not the done thing then? She's only 21months, does that make a difference?

selly24 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:46:00

Like you say why can't they ensure the children eat properly at Breakfast, then they'd spend 2 hrs running around and be hungry for a proper lunch! I havd seen parents order thingsfor the little ones to justify the coffee and snack--huge slab of cake-- they are having!

Lurkedforever1 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:46:26

Yanbu. Eating because you feel hungry is one of the easiest possible ways to stay healthy, so short of any form of sn or health requirement, it's beyond me why you would be giving your child the message 'eating is more fun than playing'. It should be the opposite message 'I realise playing is more fun but you actually need to eat'. Which is not likely to be the case for the majority of children at a 2 hr soft play session.
Although it doesn't seem to be a popular opinion at the moment given the volume of parents following their children about waving food at them.

LovelyFriend Wed 15-Jul-15 14:51:36

YANBU - if you don't stuff your kids full of "snacks", they will have no problem with eating their "lunch" either.

There is this weird snack thing going on where parents seem to follow their DC around offering them processed "snacks". I see it often in DC's friends parents - some of them are possessed, seemingly by "snacks".

Daffolil Wed 15-Jul-15 14:52:18

With you there PeppaWellington, damage limitation here too.

jeanmiguelfangio Wed 15-Jul-15 14:57:14

Ive been to an hour soft play session, and half way through the session, a group of mums stop the children, sit in the middle of the floor and have a whole sodding picnic something to eat. Its an hour! One hour! My 2 year old stops to have some water and is back in there running about.
I just cannot get it!!

Chchchchangeabout Wed 15-Jul-15 14:59:50

DC are offered a healthy (well usually) snack am and pm every day. I would offer on a softay day too but might fit round if possible (eg eat just before going in if 9.30am start). The routine works for us and on the odd occasions I have forgotten they've got grumpy. Doesn't seem to interfere with lunch/dinner.

vvviola Wed 15-Jul-15 15:00:35

I'm the opposite at soft play places. I always have quite a bit of food in my bag (DD2 has allergies, I like to have backup supplies in case we are out longer than planned). So the DC know I have food.

So I spend the whole bloody time saying "you couldn't possibly be hungry", "I didn't bring you here so you could eat, I brought you here to play" and "no, you are not having a single thing to eat".

It's exhausting.

CarpeJugulum Wed 15-Jul-15 15:03:41

I do force mine to stop for a drink once in a while - but our soft play was very hot, crowded and he was usually running constantly so it was about dehydration, not about actually eating & drinking.

Food? If he asked, but usually he didn't.

cailindana Wed 15-Jul-15 15:06:34

I agree, it is weird. My kids get fed in the morning, at 12 and at 5 and that's it apart from a small snack (as in, one Jaffa Cake) at around 3. I've seen the constant eating thing too and it's weird.

WorraLiberty Wed 15-Jul-15 15:10:43


Some parents are totally obsessed with food and snacking. It's ridiculous to think their kids can't just play for 2 hours without eating.

As long as they're having drinks breaks if it's hot, just let them get on and have fun.

WorraLiberty Wed 15-Jul-15 15:13:15

I also think if you actually have to offer your child a snack, they don't actually need it.

If they're hungry, they'll let you know.

<< Usual disclaimer about needing snacks for medical reasons >>

FlamingPie Wed 15-Jul-15 15:15:14

I'm a "helicopter parent" for good reason and am even more attentive in soft play areas where my son's anxieties can become more manifest. It isn't needing to be needed but actually because I am needed to help regulate his anxiety, give him confidence to play knowing I am close/accessible and to ensure he understands he hasn't been left alone. For some children, freedom and space are terrifying concepts - I want him to experience the fun of these places but could never just leave him to it as that wouldn't be fun for him any longer.

Lurkedforever1 Wed 15-Jul-15 15:19:42

I find it not so much weird as disturbing, because when do they learn to listen to their bodies if you always pre-empt hunger by offering food beforehand? Sometimes it's unavoidable as some kids will completely ignore it till it causes problems, but on the whole I feel it's a big contributory factor in why there are so many weight problems. There's always been some kids and always will who for whatever reason over or under eat, but if you look at older children 'come and eat your dinner' is being rapidly overtaken by 'is it ready yet' as a daily mantra

DeeWe Wed 15-Jul-15 15:21:54

I wouldn't have stopped at that time with dd1 and dd2 to eat, nor watched them on the playframes. Dd2 would have told me to go away anyway. grin

However then came ds whose behaviour deteriorates as he gets hungry and thirsty, and he also would not want to stop for anything.
He also gets overwhelmed with more than half an hour at a time in those places, as he has glue ear which means he can't properly hear and it just gets toomuch for him.
So even at his own part I would take him outside, walk him round and make him drink a cup of water and eat a biscuit every 25 minutes, just that 5 minute break would make such a difference.

Now he's older he knows and will come and say he needs that break, but he wouldn't at that age.

I would have also kept an eye on him much more than the girls because "oh dear that boy barged past ds" could escalate very quickly to "ds is getting angry" "Oh they've just hit each other". The girls would have removed themselves very quickly from any potentially escalating situation.

MiaowTheCat Wed 15-Jul-15 15:24:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WorraLiberty Wed 15-Jul-15 15:24:13

He had to eat a biscuit every 25 minutes?

Scottysmum2008 Wed 15-Jul-15 15:29:46

Every child as every parent is different. I feel very priviledged to have a child that has confidence and just checks in occasionally with me for a drink or a breather, or to tell me who is his new friend for the day at play places we take him to.
Confidence comes from us as parents to our children, and being out of their comfort zone is important as otherwise we wouldn't try anything new, with us parents always in the background for security.
My son needs me, but I have to keep my anxious mother moments to myself otherwise he won't learn life skills to deal with the world he is in now as a child that will transfer across into adulthood, and be a strong confident character who can be fair and stand up for himself.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Wed 15-Jul-15 15:30:46

Yes very odd behaviour. You're 100% correct. These places are not cheap. Some people must be made of money.
I took my DN to soft play at the weekend. I had juice and crisps on the table for him but he just came and had a drink and a few crisps as and when he felt like it.

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