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Playgym etiquette?

(29 Posts)
cjt110 Mon 08-Feb-16 11:19:33

We went to a playgym at the weekend. Been many times before when it's been quiet and busy. There is a soft play area for 0-2 and a multi-level jungle gym for 3-6. My son is 17m. Not intetrested in the slightest in the softplay bit. IMO it's more for little babies, say less than a year. On previous visits, like many other parents, I have gone into the jungle gym with DS, keeping him mainly to the lower level and the ball pool, supervised at all times. As I say, other parents have also let their LO's in that are under 3 and stayed with them supervised. Always been a pleasant visit before.

So, we go on Saturday. Its packed. Some toddlers, a baby or two, and at least 3/4 kids I would say were easily 6+ Lots of parents just sat chatting on the tables letting their kids run riot, scream, shout, barge, push. My son will go up the "ladder" and down the slide from/to the first level. Thats it. On more than one occassion I had to stop him being squashed by a 6/7YO flying up the "ladder" I also had to stop him going down the slide several times when the said 6/7YOs were running up the slides. NO parental intervention telling them not to run up the slides or not to be so rough etc. Just letting them get on with it. A staff member even walked in and didnt say anything, despite signs saying not to run up the slides.

Is it just me or should they have reigned their kids in a little. Not to stop them playing and having fun but to allow others to play happily. I just don't know what the etiquette is? Whilst I know my son is under the 3YO limit, we have happily played in the gym before, like other parents. Was I wrong to take him? Or should the other parents have calmed their kids a bit?

stiffstink Mon 08-Feb-16 11:22:26

So you, a grown adult, ignored the signs saying 3-6 years and you are complaining that small children ignored the signs saying not to run up the slides... Right. Ok.

Hihohoho1 Mon 08-Feb-16 11:24:47

Mmm i know how you feel op but equally will bet that in a few years your dc will be doing just what the older kids are doing too.

Soft play centred are hell on earth at weekends and school holidays.

Personally we wrapped ours up and went rambling or swimming. Much healthier and much more fun.

honeysucklejasmine Mon 08-Feb-16 11:27:29

Trouble is, your son isn't just a little under the age limit, is he? He's less than half the minimum age.

No, kids shouldn't run up slides.

But on a busy day especially, your son shouldn't be in the big kids area.

cjt110 Mon 08-Feb-16 11:28:01

Hihohoho1 I bet! Its a tricky one because the soft play bit is definitely not for 0-2. My son just clambers out and is off. Unsure why the playgym is rated at 3+ but I'm sure there is a reason. It was yucky and horrid weather on Sat so the last thing I wanted to be was outside. And the playgym is only £1 for 90 mins and DS loves the slide so it was our best bet. The swimming would have worked out quite a bit more but perhaps a better option for the next rainy day!

cjt110 Mon 08-Feb-16 11:29:13

May I ask what is the "normal" kind of play area for a 17m old? I just think the soft bit is far too young but totally understand the play gym is a big big too. I'm a play gym phobic so haven't visited many!

venusflytrapper Mon 08-Feb-16 11:30:06

YADBU. Your child was in an area too old for him - the centres state the rules not the parents and you broke them. And expected people to accommodate you. Ridiculous

CwtchyQ Mon 08-Feb-16 11:30:34

Actually OP, I don't think you're BU at all. I had a similar experience with my DD a couple of weeks ago - I made the utter mistake of going to a softplay on a rainy Saturday. My DD is just under 2, and as much as I want her to stay in the baby section, she is more interested in the older section. I was v careful with only letting her go in the v front bit of it but she still got barged and trampled over. I do think that the problem is that most toddlers don't want to stay in the frankly (for them) boring baby bit. I won't take her again anyway as they are gross and she is always snotty the next day!

cjt110 Mon 08-Feb-16 11:32:54

As I say above, what is oridinary for a play gym for that age? I really don't know what I should expect? As one area seems too little, and one too big?

Arkwright Mon 08-Feb-16 11:34:24

The large soft play near us has an under 5 section and a 5-12 section.

The under 5's has a ball pool, slide, soft shapes for building, a track for cosy coupe cars.

The over 5's has a ball pool, zip wire swings, 3 huge slides, 4 levels of climbing.

Hihohoho1 Mon 08-Feb-16 11:34:34

Oh yes op totally see your points here and agree with you that parents ignore their kids causing havoc. And yes we all have at some point haven't we?

But soft play was ever like this.

Roll on the warm park picnic weather I say. smile

Eminado Mon 08-Feb-16 11:35:22

I am dying at the irony of you taking your child into the incorrect area for her age group and then complaining about it.

Cheby Mon 08-Feb-16 11:39:19

You've hit a difficult age I'm afraid. We are almost out the other side of it with DD who is nearly 3, but I still have to supervise very closely at soft play because older kids fly around in there with no regard for younger smaller ones.

I would say at 17 months that he is probably too small for the 3-6 section. It isn't fair to the older ones to restrict their movement etc (although climbing up the slide drives me bonkers and I always tell DD off if she attempts it).

Maybe try a weekday toddler session if you can get to one? The most fun DD has ever had at one of these places was at a birthday party when it was exclusively hired and all the kids were between 2 and 3. We could just let her go off and not worry, they all had a wonderful time.

honkinghaddock Mon 08-Feb-16 11:40:24

He's too little to be in the older section on busy days. Ds used to go supervised in younger sections when he was past the age limit because they often suited him better due to his disabilities but I wouldn't take him in when it was busy.

cjt110 Mon 08-Feb-16 11:41:03

incorrect area for her age group Its a boy.

And I wasnt being holier than thou or anything, just asking what others think. I totally get that he is underage for the big gym but as on previous occassions, like other parents, I have kept him to the lower part and supervised at all times. I'm not sure how the leisure centre expects 0-2 to play in the teeny soft play bit! confused

Eminado Mon 08-Feb-16 11:43:16

I am sorry I misread your post and thought it was a girl.

cjt110 Mon 08-Feb-16 11:44:00

I honestly didn't anticipate it being so busy - I guess naive of me when it's pouring down outside. We stayed about 20 mins, he had some goes on the slides and we came away. So he had some fun at least.

Playgyms just fill me with dread and fear and as this one is usually quite quiet, I found myself comfortable with going to it.

honkinghaddock Mon 08-Feb-16 11:46:36

None of them are quiet when it is pouring with rain. Ds hates it when it is busy so we only go on 'nice' days.

ZebraLovesKnitting Mon 08-Feb-16 11:46:38

Not sure what a play gym is, but I've gone into the older kids' bit/the main bit with my DC from the age that they were able to use it (climb the ladders etc.) But, I've always been aware of the fact that we're basically intruders, as this bit is really for the bigger kids. I have always stayed within arm's reach of my DC, and kept looking around for other kids so I could anticipate any difficulties/roughness, such as pushing past on stairs. It's not the big kids' fault, they're just enjoying themselves, and they shouldn't have to be considerate of very little kids.

NannyR Mon 08-Feb-16 11:49:16

You need to find a soft play aimed at younger kids. We have two near us where the equipment is definitely for much younger children, low level slides etc. The kids I look after were bored of it by five but it was wonderful for them as toddlers.
Also you could go during school hours, no big kids in there then.

lornathewizzard Mon 08-Feb-16 11:53:49

Some of them have piss poor bits for the younger ones thats all. A few of ours are great because they have bigger parts for the small ones and the bigger bit is happily ignored by 18mo DD. I'd try another one if you can.

cjt110 Mon 08-Feb-16 12:02:21

Will ask friends for recommendations. Sadly no chance to go in the day as I work full time in the week sad

Gubbins Mon 08-Feb-16 12:02:40

You are not unreasonable to let your child play in the older part (my own daughter was a very confident climber at that age and was always up at the top of the play gym). What is unreasonable is to expect the older children to moderate their behaviour to allow for his presence. If he's going to play around the big kids he's going to have to learn to deal with their rough and tumble.

cjt110 Mon 08-Feb-16 12:06:00

Its such a tough one as I totally get he's an intruder but when he's just on the floor too and bigger lods are running past him nearly knocking him flying sad I'm such a softy!

APlaceOnTheCouch Mon 08-Feb-16 12:06:08

tbh you just have to find a better soft play that can keep your DS amused in the age-appropriate section. For example, in the one near us, the under 5 section has 2 slides, a tunnel, a ball pool, a little section with plastic ride-along cars and bikes; blocks for building, etc.

In most of the soft-plays I've been to, the staff would have given the children into trouble for running up the slides if they noticed it but they would also have asked you to take your DS back to the correct section, and they chase older kids out of the baby section too.

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