Soft play = heaven for children, hell for parents
It is basically impossible to find a child who doesn't love soft play. And why wouldn't they? Soft, bouncy jungle gyms, where you're actually allowed to run round screaming like you're possesed - what could be more fun?
But as all parents know - soft play centres aren't so fun when you're on the other side of the ball pond.
Here are 15 reasons why soft play is actual HELL ON EARTH!
1. You can’t get a good cup of coffee
Why bother providing sleep-deprived parents with great tasting coffee, when they'll drink whatever caffeine-based drink you put infront of them - and pay a ridiculous price for the pleasure too?
At least the kids have fun, eh! (Credit: Getty)
2. The Delegators
Definition: Parents who assume that, because you are supervising your own kid, you are also watching theirs. Do I look like a babysitter?
3. There is always one part of the soft play your kid can’t manage alone
And of course, that is the part they specifically need to climb whenever you sit down to take a sip of that overpriced coffee-like drink.
4. The vending machines
These are child height, conveniently placed machines will swallow your change and fill your home with plastic tat. Brilliant.
5. It's like a real life game of Where's Wally?
For something that is essentially an elaborate string cage, soft play ares are surprisingly hard to see through. Handy features such as tunnels mean that you can stare into them for hours and not once spot your kid. Not great for the heart-rate.
Try not to think about what's in the ball pit (Credit: Getty)
6. Talking of losing things - your kid will lose at least one sock
The washing machine has been talking full blame for the odd sock pile for years. It’s about time the ball pit took it’s share.
7. Ball pits are basically soups of bacteria
Dummies, food, toys - not to mention dribble, vomit and other bodily fluids - all mingle with those alluringly colourful balls. And how often do the soft play centres clean that thing out? My guess is a lot less often than you would hope. Shudder.
8. You WILL leave with a banging headache
Children are noisy anyway, but get them excited and put them in an enclosed space and you will find yourself Googling ‘what is a safe decibel level for human ears?’
At some point there WILL be tears (Credit: Getty)
9. You will inevitably have to have 'The Conversation' at least once per visit
You know - the one about your kid hurting another kid. What you'll say is: “Oh I’m sorry, is she okay? I’ll go and have word with him now.” Even though what you’re REALLY thinking is: “If you’re going to let her toddle at the bottom of the slide she’s going to get hurt isn’t she?!”
10. The glares you get when your kid cries
Alright Judgey McJudgepants, it was your kid howling five minutes ago.
11. It's basically the Wild West in there
There are rules, but at least half the parents don't seem to care. Sure - let your almost teenage kid charge round the clearly sign-posted ‘under 5s ONLY’ area. How could that possibly end in tears?
You will NOT look like this going down the slide (Credit: Getty)
12. There is ALWAYS a puddle in the toilets
And it is only once you feel something seeping into your sock that you realise you’ve still got no shoes on.
13. Your kid WILL make you go down the slide and you WILL mess it up
You think this is your chance to look like ‘The Fun Mum', but the reality is - you will bang your head, get stuck, misjudge the dismount, and walk away with bruises to both your coccyx and your confidence.
14. Your purse takes a battering too
As you stand there in your soggy socks, your hair matted and the beginnings of a migraine, it will suddenly dawn on you that you actually PAID to enter this hell hole.
Catching them is basically impossible (Credit: Getty)
15. Bribery is the only way out
You've been there for hours, you have a banging headache, and now you want to leave. Yeah - good luck! Remember those those child camouflaging design features I mentioned earlier? Well they make child-catching extremely difficult. By the time you’ve spotted your child and less-than-elegantly squeezed your way up a ladder wasn't made to accommodate people over four foot tall, your kid is grinning up from the floor beneath you. And they KNOW you have no chance of catching them. Which is why bribery is the only way out.