Saturday, 1 February 2014

Social etiquette at soft play... What are the rules.

Help! What are the social etiquette rules at soft play? The toddler area clearly has a sign that says for under 5's only yet there were older kids tearing around climbing up slides and sending little ones flying, at first I hoped a parent would claim them and tell them off but it soon became clear that no one was going to do it. When my little one slide down the slide he narrowly avoided a foot in the face from a ten year old climbing up the slide, when Junior J innocently said "mine" the older boy angrily shouted back at him, I calmly explained he's under 2 & doesn't understand  but still the older boy shot both me and Junior J evil glances, I had no idea what to do, so picked up Junior J and moved on too the ball pool, which was fine until another older child went in and got really rough throwing the balls and kicking. I want to be able to let Junior J enjoy himself and run around freely, I want to sit back and give him confidence to explore in a safe environment, but how do you manage the older children. The soft play has a separate part for under 12's which has the same style equipment for older ones. There were no staff policing the area and when I asked at reception they said it was the responsibility of the parents to look after their children, so what do you do when the parents are't watching and are not near?


  1. It's really hard to know what to do isn't it. We were at soft play the other day & two (older) girls with open packets of crisps were attempting to climb in to the (toddler) ball pit. Their parents clearly couldn't care less, so I explained that they needed to finish their crisps before playing on the equipment. They scurried away out of my sight, leaving a trail of crisps to be squished in to the floor and no doubt picked up & eaten by toddlers who know no better. (I was most concerned because one of them had a packet of Skips, which contain tomato, which my son is allergic to..)

    I'm surprised by the response of the receptionist. If that's the case, could they not have had a word with the parents? These places are separated in to age-zones for a reason, but it's just pointless if no one is going to enforce it!

  2. I agree completely. The receptionist is probably not the person with the authority so I would talk to the manager or put your concerns in writing. If that doesnt work I would talk to your environmental health department as there are safety issues here and parents cannot be left to supervise other peoples children. If there are clear rules about who can go where the staff should be enforcing them, Afterall they set them for a reason as you say.

  3. I've always said something directly to the children. If they are old enough to be running around unsupervised then they are old enough to be talked to. I'm not mean but I am firm and explain that this area is for young children (point to the sign and use the words on it) - and that they need to be careful if they want to play in the area for again point to the sign and use the words on it. Don't get wound up when some of the kids ignore you. At least you've said something. - The only time I have ever had a parent complain to me was in the library of all places - I think her daughter was pushing onto the fire engine and I said something like 'My daughter was waiting for a go' - the mother came marching over and told me to speak to her and not her child - er hello - if you'd been here you could have said something yourself about your daughters lack of manners......

    Back to the soft play....I used to get very concerned when my first son was tiny and the big children were everywhere. Although now my eldest is one of the big ones I have to tell off and my youngest copes ok...