Soft play is not very soft at time
Soft play. Not so soft when you are surrounded by children whose parents use the centre as a crèche whilst they gossip, read, or just generally ignore what their children are doing.
I have heard people call it soft play hell and now I understand why and it infuriates me as Molly enjoys playing there so much.
I have been a few times now with Molly and my friend and her son and on most occasions they have had fun playing safely but there is almost always one (or two like today) children who run riot and whose parents don’t deem it necessary to ensure their children are behaving. Soft play stops being so soft.
When we first arrived at the soft play centre we went into the section designed for babies. In that section were two children, maybe 2 or 3 years?, who were playing. Of course we have no problem with this but they were boisterous and almost stood/fell/jumped on my friends five month old son on a number of occasions. She asked the boys to be careful as there were babies playing but the boys just ignored her or replied with “so?”.
They then started taking the toys that our little ones were happily playing with right out of their hands. When asked if they could share they said no and kept playing with the toys, not letting our babies play.
After this they went into the ball pit where they proceeded to hurl balls at our babies nearly hitting them. This wasn’t soft throwing, it was full on hard throwing. My friend asked them to stop throwing the balls as they were nearly hitting out babies and all they replied was “yeah, nearly” and they continued to throw them. At this time we thought it was probably for the best to come out of the soft play babies area and order some food.
The most annoying thing about this, other than the children having no respect for their elders, was that their parents/guardians were sitting at the table nearest to the baby sections, only about to metres away from us and would have definitely have heard us asking their children to be careful yet did nothing. I watched them and they never looked once to see what their children were doing, or where they were. They had no interest in their children whatsoever.
Thankfully when we had finished eating the boys had gone so E and M got to play without fear of being attacked. This time there was more children playing in the area, some babies and some toddlers, but all were supervised. Their parents were either in the area with them or watching like hawks. It was a much nicer experience.
I understand that soft play areas are a great way to let children have a run about and to blow off steam. I understand that parents need some timeout but parents do need to pay attention to what their children are doing. Maybe this doesn’t mean shadowing them around 100% of the time but it also doesn’t mean paying 0% attention to them.
As for the childrens’ manners. One thing I know for sure, Molly will be brought up to respect her elders and will have manners. If she misbehaves she doesn’t get to stay and if she acts like those children did today she won’t get back to a soft play centre again.