As a mum of a very energetic two year old, I spend a lot of my time at the local soft play centre. It is a good way to tire Leo out and a good excuse for us to get out of the house. Leo and I have been making regular trips to soft play since he was about six months old, sometimes we have loads of fun and other times, well, it can end in tears.
I have learnt through our several visits to soft play, that there are things you can do to ensure you and your toddler have a good time, and the possibility of one of you sobbing at the top of the slide can be significantly reduced.
So, here they are. The do’s and don’ts of a trip to the soft play with your toddler…
DO remove your child’s shoes before you leave the car to avoid said child having an emotional breakdown when the member of staff at the counter asks you to hand their beloved wellies over.
DON’T forget to wear socks. At worst you will be asked to leave and at best people will give you dirty looks.
DO give your toddler a snack in the car before you get there to avoid any demands for chips as soon as you arrive.
DON’T go when your toddler is hungry. unless you want to pay £5 for a little lunch box that they NEED MUMMY, for them to ignore the sandwich and piece of fruit and only eat the packet of crisps.
DO wear sensible clothes. With all the running and lifting you will be doing, I would say your gym gear may be a good outfit choice.
DON’T wear a skirt. No tights results in friction burns on the slide and potential indecent exposure. Tights results in flying down the slide at speeds too great for you or your toddler to handle.
DO get involved and run around with your toddler. No one will judge you for having fun.
DON’T send your two year old in alone when it’s busy. Hyperactive older kids are terrifying and are not always nice to the little ones (Leo has been pushed over even when I have been stood right next to him before).
DO fantasize about the day your child will be one of the older kids and you can sit and have a coffee, chat with friends, check Twitter etc..
DON’T be jealous of or judge the mums of older kids who are sat having a coffee, chatting with friends, checking Twitter etc..
DO expect to get stuck in those double roller things and have to wiggle out like an uncoordinated worm.
DON’T laugh at other parents who have got stuck in the roller things (if you must laugh be discreet, it is embarrassing enough as is).
DO expect your toddler to get themselves stuck right at the top in a corner too small for your adult size body.
DON’T stop your child exploring for fear of them getting stuck. It may be difficult, but there’s always a way for you to rescue them.
DO let you child play and explore in anyway they want.
DON’T let your child climb up the slide though. Not because I think it’s inappropriate but because there are signs everywhere saying not to do so and if you let them an angry voice will come over the loud speaker telling them to get down.
DO stop for a coffee and juice break. You will both need to refuel at some point.
DON’T sit next to the sign saying ‘Only food bought in cafe can be consumed on this premises’ while giving your child some sandwiches and a biscuit you a brought from home.
DO have fun playing silly games with your little one.
DON’T appear to be having more fun than all the children. You might come across as a bit of an odd ball.
DO expect your child to throw a massive tantrum when it’s time to leave.
DON’T cry when your child is screaming on the floor by the exit. You will get out of there, eventually..
So, there you have it. My do’s and don’t for a trip to the soft play. I am not saying these apply to everyone but they definitely help me survive an hour or two a week in the minefield that is the soft play centre. Do you have anything to add? Does your little one love soft play? Let me know what you think 🙂
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