Soft play etiquette in the ‘baby area’ - AIBU?(56 Posts)
So me and my DH took our 11 month old to a new soft play today (I’ve only been once before), mainly because I often take him in the week and Daddy doesn’t get to see his little excited face! Obviously we stick to the baby areas which is clearly marked at under twos. With it being a Saturday (never again!) it was pretty busy but lots of babies for LO to see and interact with. Unfortunately there were a number children in there that were over the age of two, I’d guess 4 or 5 who were becoming more and more boisterous. I assume a grandad was in there with two of his GC who insisted on stacking the furniture as tall as he was. My DH asked him a few times to be careful as the blocks of furniture kept falling down onto him and he just keep saying “I can see where you are and it won’t hurt”- not the point surely. My DH then pointed out that it was under 2s only which he responded to with “that other child is older than mine” (other child had no parent to be seen). After several more tumbles of the tower, as I say taller than the GD himself, my DH got fed up and as a member of staff walked past signalled that the older children were becoming too bostrious. She completely agreed and asked them to leave the baby area but the GD ignored her completely. After several mins(!) of her calling him and saying “excuse me, adult” my DH said she is talking to you! He replied “I know, come on then childs name we’ve been banned from here”. He then went to sit down with the children and I noticed (should have said I was sat having a cuppa watching) him talking to GM and I assume son (child’s parent). He looked really aggressive and was clearly shouting his dismay at my DH for asking the staff to say something when his requests were ignored. The son then got really angry and red in the face, swearing and got up. I panicked as he looked like he was heading for DH and baby so I got up and went over, started speaking to DH and asked him to come and sit with me for a bit - I didn’t want them to be trapped in the baby area if he was going to be aggressive. We sat at the table and all the time the son and GD were mouthing off and sticking their fingers up etc. I honestly couldn’t believe their behaviour in a soft play area full of children on a Saturday morning. It really freaked me out how angry they got over something so small? Were we being unreasonable to have asked staff to intervene when our requests were ignored? I should add the majority of the soft play was for over twos so why is there any need for older children to be in here who are too boisterous where babies aren’t even crawling? 😔 Made me not want to go back. They ended up leaving in the end without coming over thank goodness.
So sorry you experienced this. Unfortunately there are some really scummy people out there and that it just their way of life. I like to think of them as odd cavemen types that get bored with life because they watch to much Jeremy Kyle and have nothing else to do...
You did the right thing! Don't let the scummers intimate you. Especially if they are the ones in the wrong!!
YANBU, they sound awful. Although are you sure he area was for under 2s? In all of the ones near us, the smaller areas are for under 4s.
You have to grow a thick skin rather quickly for weekend soft play, especially with the baby area! The dads or grandads can be quite aggressive but you want to see it when the mums kick off 😱
Y defo were not BU to speak to staff...soft or not those padded cubes still hurt small bodies when they fall!!
Yanbu BUT soft play is referred to as the 7th circle of hell for good reason. This is par for the course I'm afraid!
Ds used to sometimes go into the under 3 section until he was 5 or 6 because he has sn and it was a refuge from the other children who were running about. He was always taken out if a baby went in.
I've seen two year olds I would have sworn were five. The poor mum used to get judged on her child's behaviour as if he was much older. I hate soft play. That why I no longer own one.
The only time I was at soft play I had a similar situation. Although I didn't actually notice the people mouthing off at me, my friend pointed it out.
Was like Lord Of The Flies in there.
You clearly came across dickheads unfortunately.
Had the same thing this weekend. Under 2 area. Kids of about 6/7 running in, jumping over the babies, headfirst into ball pit, etc etc. Taking things out of the babies hands! Parents nowhere to be seen. I had to be THAT parent and complain to the management/staff in the end, which I really didn’t want to do but needs must - it was dangerous!
I despise soft play for this exact reason. Too many older kids in the baby/toddler area running riot and their parents not giving a toss.
Yeah. Agree with PP. scummy people. Just be happy that you’ll probably have a better life than them.
OP - I don’t think you came across as dickheads at alll. How rude. You were looking after your baby. Even if the other people thought you were being unreasonable their reaction was ridiculous.
I would just go in the week I don't really like it anyway but it's crazy at the weekend so I avoid. My cousin works in one and people have had a fight in the soft play 2 mothers and it's in a nice area!!
Not nice people. I will now confess (and then name change ) that my 5 year old was in the todder bit (not baby - there’s another bit for that) at a softplay in the holidays. We used to go there when he was young and he loved some of the equipment (balls in an air thing) that they don’t have nun the older bit. Same is likely true of the foam blocks tower. So I can see why they might want to be there but there’s no excusing the subsequent behaviour.
Oops - sorry. I thought the PP said you came across as dickheads but actuallly PP said you came across dickheads. Sorry sorry sorry! I’m blaming the multitasking without wearing glasses...!
I never used to mind older kids being in there if they weren't getting in the way of the babies, using all the equipment or being boisterous but if they were I would tell the staff.
The only mistake your dh made was doing it blatantly. Me or dh used to go and report it quietly and the kids would be moved on without anyone ever knowing we'd complained. Sometimes had to do it multiple times in a single visit though. Very frustrating when the older ones have 90% of the play area to run around like mad things!
Our local one has a baby-toddler bit for under 3s. There was a five year old (she announced her age) in that bit unsupervised last time I went who wanted me to watch her play, I felt sad for her but I was there to supervise my livewire one year old.
BUT soft play is referred to as the 7th circle of hell for good reason. This is par for the course I'm afraid!
Yes, this is true. I do occasionally let my DS who is 10 go in the baby area to supervise his little sister, he fits in better than me and can be trusted not to be a nana.
Soft play is the absolute worst on a Saturday. I would always choose another activity if I could.
They were really awful to behave like that. Although please bear in mind that some children do look much older - someones asked me to remove my DS from the baby area a few weeks ago, he is actually only two!!
That said I do appreciate he is bigger and more boisterous than lots of babies so encourage him to play elsewhere or modify his behaviour (if possible )
One of the best things about the kids growing up was not having to frequent soft play anymore 😂
The noise aside - I remember all to well the parents paying no attention to their older children (thus not seeing them in the baby and toddler areas) or worse still, those who didn't care either because they couldn't bothered to interrupt their chat/tea/cake or thought their kids should play where they wanted.
Truth is, some people are just rude and entitled. You met some of them today.
You did nothing wrong at all. It's bloody annoying - especially when in most soft play centres the baby and toddler sections are 10% of the size of the total play space.
Only suggestion is the same as a pp in that I realised the easiest way to deal with it was remove the children for 5 mins
distract them to sit with me using the bribery of cake and a drink and discreetly speak to a member of staff to move the older kids to a suitable area.
OP and her DH were not the dickheads; the grandparents and father of the children who were too old for the baby section were.
Most of the space in soft play areas are for children; very little space is generally dedicated to babies. The least people can do is respect that when there are babies using it.
That said, I am SO glad my children are too old for soft play now. I always hated other parents who let their children run riot and hurt and trample and hit other children, and then get mad at me for asking them politely to get their children to stop hurting others.
Thanks all you have cheered me up! I do agree with you all in regards to soft play and the seventh circle of hell haha, but LO loves it and I love him being able to interact with other babies. We go to play group but most of the time only toddlers come. I just couldn’t believe how angry they got - as suggested perhaps we shall complain quietly next time hehe, though I doubt we will try a weekend again any time soon! ☺️
Also meant to say - I’ve not issues with older children in the baby area as long as they aren’t playing rough, then it becomes dangerous for the babies and it is only a very small area. This particular one was definitely under twos, they have an under 4s area too!
Worst mistake we EVER made was to stop in a soft play on the way to the boat home one Sunday afternoon. It'll break the journey we thought and tire the kids out before the boat back. DH and I ended up both broke and traumatised, dd1 lost all manners and sense of recall (I make her sound like a dog but you know what I mean!) and disappeared into the bowels of hell, we nearly needed international search and rescue. Dd2 was almost trampled to death by much older kids in the baby bit (actually was a baby) and was also traumatised and we were charged a fortune for the privilege. Never braved it again!
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