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Re soft play...

(81 Posts)
FrasierCranium Tue 02-Feb-16 15:53:16

Do most parents find they come out of the soft play with sky high blood pressure?? Or is it just me??

My daughter has not long turned 1 and she's a teeny wee thing. I find it difficult to think of stuff to do with her when the weather is bad. She's at a stage where she's too young for loads of stuff but gets quite fed up with a day in the house.

There is a soft play centre not far from here. It's big, and it has a lovely little cordoned off area for babies and toddlers under 2. DD loves it and as she's just learning to stand/walk unsupported it's great for her to practice.

However, I am absolutely sick to the back bloody teeth of parents allowing older children into this area. There are signs everywhere saying that kids over two (including older brothers and sisters) should not be in this area, but no one ever says or does anything. There are two huge areas for kids from 2-4, as well as another massive area for everyone else so it's not like there is nowhere else for them to go.

Today we were in there with one other mum and baby. Then a group of girls (I'd say they were about 4, I would guess starting school in August) ran riot through the baby area. They jumped around, stood on all the stuff, throwing the big bits of soft play "furniture" around, they chucked the balls out of the ball pit etc. No idea who they were with, didn't seem to be a parent in charge anyway. I took DD out for some water as I didn't feel she was safe in there with them. I took her back in when they had gone but they just kept coming back in. They were climbing the netting to get in.

This seems to happen every time we're there and it is so bloody frustrating. I can live with the odd older sibling who comes in with a younger one and is strictly supervised by a parent. Nothing is ever enforced. Aside from the safety aspect, they're ruining all the stuff. I have also experienced older kids trying to lift my DD up out of the ball pool to play with her, which I don't like.

Would I be unreasonable and pfb to complain to the centre? I'm not a complainer, and I hate confrontation, but this winds me up no end. However, I know I get anxious about DD being safe so if I am being pfb then I can accept that and try to let it wash over me.

nephrofox Tue 02-Feb-16 15:58:01

Why don't you say something to the kids?

I have many times said to kids " how old are you, thus area is for 3 and under"

DoJo Tue 02-Feb-16 16:07:05

What do you say to the older children? Do they not respond if you ask them to be careful or tell them not to throw the toys around?

Wolfiefan Tue 02-Feb-16 16:11:17

How are they "ruining" the stuff?
If they are putting your child at actual risk then tell them to stop it or speak to management.
I'm afraid it sounds a bit pfb but then I hate all soft play with a vengeance!

CaptainCrunch Tue 02-Feb-16 16:13:52

Some places are worse than others, depending on what sort of supervision they have and the way the place is laid out.

Worst experience I ever had was my DS 8th birthday party. I had about 20 guests, some of whom were about 9 or 10. A couple of party members approached me and said a girl was kicking them and calling them horrible names (e.g. "bitch" and far worse).

I had a look around and saw a girl of about 12 laying into a party member and spitting venom at her. I approached her and told her to behave herself. She ran over to her Mother who was the most hard faced creature I have ever seen. I told her what had been going on and she laughed and told me to "fuck off".

I got a member of staff over and they were asked to leave as other people had complained about them as well. Fortunately my DS was none the wiser and enjoyed his party but I have always considered soft play the seventh circle of hell.

FrasierCranium Tue 02-Feb-16 16:13:59

I have done that before and sometimes if they're nice kids they will leave the area or behave, But some of them look at you like you have horns, ignore you, or say "my mum says I can be here" etc. I didn't do it today because the other woman did say something and they gave her the 'horns' look/completely ignored her.

I'm also a complete spineless twit and I worry about confrontation with an angry parent, this happened to my friend before and they ended up having a stand-up row which is my idea of hellish mortification. so I don't like to do this (although as I said, I have forced myself to do it in the past). I know I'm in the right but I'm just so bad with confrontation I would probably end up apologising to them blush

HackAttack Tue 02-Feb-16 16:21:16

I always order out older children if they are playing unsafely, if they refuse I give staff the option of backing me up or refunding me. Fear of confrontation is what let's rubbish parents ruin it for everyone else.

foxessocks Tue 02-Feb-16 16:22:37

Agree with others. Usually a quick "how old are you? This is for the little ones" to the kids does the job I find (I'm often with a friend who's a teacher and she's excellent at a stern but calm voice!). If that doesn't work definitely get a member of staff.

It does happen at soft play and I have to admit now my little girl is 2 and a bit more robust I don't get so worried but I remember what it's like when they're really tiny.

Can you pick a particular morning to go that's a bit quieter maybe? I find Mon - Weds mornings are often really quiet during term time.

AMouseLivedinaWindMill Tue 02-Feb-16 16:26:29

ask nicely how old they are, you dont need to be cruel, and then yes without a doubt complain to the center!

MaryPoppinsPenguins Tue 02-Feb-16 16:27:11

I hate soft play for this very reason. I had a blazing row with another mother when I asked her son to stop throwing balls at my DD (who was about a year at the time.) I asked him nicely about 20 times, then I took the balls away... Then his mum went ballistic. And she wasn't... Um... Someone I would ever have started an argument with confused

bimandbam Tue 02-Feb-16 16:27:12

Shop around for your soft play areas. We have several nearby. I avoid a couple as they are just too busy and rowdy for ds. I find ones a bit secluded and not near town or a shopping centre slightly better.

Also look at the times you are going. First thing seems to be quieter with younger dcs. I think the 3/4 year olds tend to go after a morning session at nursery. Those that go to afternoon sessions don't tend to do soft play beforehand whereas in my observations it seems quite common for the older ones to go after school.

swquestion Tue 02-Feb-16 16:29:53

This winds me up too - at our local one the ball pit is in the under 2s section so old kids dive headfirst into it as understandbly they want to play in it too. A couple of weeks back a 3 year old came in and smacked my 14 month old around the head (totally unprovoked)! I was so cross. I think the only thing you can do is pop out and speak to the management - if enough people do that they might 'police' it a bit more by coming in every ten mins to check.

Katenka Tue 02-Feb-16 16:30:24

If you don't want confrontation, complain to the staff.

The two we go to are very good at stepping in with this sort of stuff.

One has a tannoy (it's huge) that they make announcements on.

The smaller one has a member of staff watching it at all times.

pinkiponk Tue 02-Feb-16 16:30:39

no great advice but I sympathise! There aren't many places to take a 1 year old. I don't understand it, because the older kids have usually got a much larger and much more exciting huge frame to play on!

Alicewasinwonderland Tue 02-Feb-16 16:47:10

I agree with you, and normally takes my little ones during school hours. It helps.

I also physically protect them, by standing in front of them when riotous children are around. I cannot count the amount of times I have been kicked, pushed, elbowed but I am an adult so I am not bothered, and my little ones have escaped unhurt.

A mum left her kid crying for more than 10 minutes the other day: he was a bigger kid but stuck a the top level of the climbing frame. He was screaming in the end, but she was just drinking coffee and chatting with her friends. If they can't take care of their own kids, you have no hope they will respect yours!

MamaBear98 Tue 02-Feb-16 16:54:52

If that happens again try to say something to the children involved and if they don't take any notice then speak to the staff who are working there and let them try to sort it out hmm Hopefully these issues can get sorted out for you soon! smile

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 02-Feb-16 16:56:20

Nah, I never got high blood pressure. In your situation I 'd just tell them to get out. I am obviously very scary authoritative as I've never had a refusal and never had a parent come over to complain either.

waxweasel Tue 02-Feb-16 16:58:43

I agree with you. I'm less concerned now that DD is 2.5 and quite robust, but it still annoys me. Our local soft play has a small section for under 4s and then a huuuuuge amazing section for over 4s. We were there on Sunday (not by choice, we were doing something next door and DD insisted...) and there were 3 girls aged about 6 or 7 just running riot in the baby bit. I was remarking to DH that I found it odd they'd even want to be in there, given how boring it is compared to the main bit. DD just shoved them out of her way and wasn't fazed so I didn't say anything, but just glared at them disdainfully from the side.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Tue 02-Feb-16 17:00:04

Bad luck for kids who are too old but can't manage the soft play part for older children.

My dD was like that. Physically couldn't manage any of the soft play except the baby part until she was about 6. The staff refused to let her in once and she fell down the slide in the older part.

Another time she just sat in the baby part and a staff member came and told her off and was very bemused when she didn't answer as she is non verbal.

She can manage all the soft play now she is 9 but is getting a bit old for it. It's fine to police it but there should be some exceptions made

Woobeedoo Tue 02-Feb-16 17:01:19

I've taken my DS to a local soft play area. It is priced according to age and I've come to the conclusion that some parents are either lying and saying their child is in the 0-4year group to get a cheap ticket or there are some bloody tall 4 year olds out there.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Tue 02-Feb-16 17:01:31

So you're not wrong OP but I wish there were more facilities for less able kids rather than a once a month ASN session during work hours so we can't go.

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 02-Feb-16 17:02:29

I speak though as someone with very tall kids so they sometimes looked over age. Mostly I'd put them in with the bigger kids depending on how rough they were, being tall doesn't mean they are at the same stage of physical development as an older child.

I once was in a generic soft play are for kids up to 6 with my 3 and 4 year olds, a boy who looked about 6ish kept on niggling and niggling at my 4 year old nipping at him and pulling him and tripping him and behaving in a shitey way. Anyway I was at the point of intervening when DS1 just pulled himself up to his full height and punched this child right in the face.....his dad saw it and was about to take umbrage when I told him that frankly his child deserved it and hoped it taught him a lesson - he didn't fancy continuing the conversation either. Yup, i'm definitely scary authoritative.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Tue 02-Feb-16 17:06:05

Talking of ASN sessions DD once enjoyed herself at one so I went to the desk to pay for her to stay once it opened tothe public and they said no...nothing like blatant discrimination! That was awful. She was just sitting happily and we had to leave.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Tue 02-Feb-16 17:06:29

This isn't me disagreeing with OP just a general rant re soft play.

Jessbow Tue 02-Feb-16 17:09:10

Look at the offending child/children fair and square in the eye and loudly announce ''you are a big girl/boy for 2'' They will almost always reply most indignntly that they are four not two. Point them in the right direction then.

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