Picture it if you will…….
We are at grandmas for breakfast.
A cold April Saturday when it’s rained on and off for a few days. The garden is wet and muddy and the kids have their cousin over.
The men are doing some work in the garden to get it ready for summer so there are tools everywhere.
Mud is being trampled in and out and I don’t know how many times a child has come in hurt.
I suggested I leave the babies with grandma and taking the big kids to soft play for a couple of hours to run off some energy.
So here I am. Sat with my cuppa. Watching 3 kids hate crash the bouncy castle. That has been paid for by the birthday party in the corner.
The birthday parade starts and the kids inevitably ask me if they can join in.
I need a plan.
A plan to survive this couple of hours of soft play hell.
10 Tips to survive soft play
- Take another grown up. Although the noise of 50 + kids may break the recommended noise levels that humans should endure taking another adult means at least you can try to catch up with some important gossip. Also they will be on hand if you need to nip one child to the toilet or change a baby.
- Find a soft play with comfy corner. One of our local soft plays has a couple of sofas I try and get the sofa before anyone else. Then you can …
- Enjoy a cuppa. While sat on your comfy sofa, drinking your hot cuppa you can at least pretend your at home. (I mean don’t go picking your nose or scratching your bum your still in public)
- Take advantage of the fact someone else is going to cook dinner and clean up the mess. Some soft play food can be half decent, so let someone else do the hard work.
- Juice jug. The best way to keep the kids hydrated is with a jug of juice. They are normally the same price as one of the bottles of juice yet they normally last 2 kids 3 top ups. Plus your being kinder to the environment by not having disposable bottles.
- Take a magazine or a book. The kids will probably just go off and play so long as bellies are full and they have been watered. So take the opportunity to catch up on your important reading.
- Go out of peak time. Generally we only use soft play as a last resort. (Like most parents) Like when the weather is bad and there are no other plans. That said I sometimes use it as a treat. In that case I pick the quietist time usually after school hours when some soft plays will have a meal time deal. These are normally quieter times.
- General hygiene & Antibacterial gel. Kids carry germs fact! Make them wash their hands and use your antibac gel too before they have food and before and after going to the toilet
- Don’t get into the “can I have just one penny”cycle. Some soft plays. Ok most soft plays take advantage of stressed out parents by adding more ways to part them of their cash. They add dreaded grabber machines or those machines or toy vending machines. Those little suckers will be dotted around soft play with their bright lights. Enticing children promising them their dreams will come true and they will win some amazing prize for just £1. We got caught in the habit of letting the kids have just one “penny” too many times now we are trying to break the habit. Try not to get into the cycle. Stand your ground you can do it!
- If you can’t beat them join them. Sometimes you just have to squeeze yourself into their world for a while.
I hope these tips help you survive your trip to soft play. If all else fails instead find a pub with a playground inside. Then at least there is gin to take the edge off!!