Surviving soft play as a mum: the essential guide

surviving soft play mum
We love a good indoor play sesh to keep our littlies happy. But how are you going to get through the next two hours and come out the other end with your sanity intact? Read on – we've got the answers.

While we love the Little Red Dot to bits, there’s no getting away from the fact that Singapore’s weather is sweat-inducing. On the one hand, living in a tropical, year-round-sunny place makes you feel like every day is a holiday. But on the flipside, it can get far too hot – and quickly – for our littlies to enjoy loads of outdoor fun. So, when all the open-air exertion gets a bit too much, we’re huge advocates of heading inside to lap up the sweet AC in an indoor play centre. However, with all those small people en masse, it pays to have your wits about you. Here are a few home truths we’ve learned along the way on how to survive soft play as a mum…  

Wardrobe 101

All that running around after your kids (watch as your plan to ‘leave them to it’ goes out the window quicksmart) means soft play is a strictly shorts or trousers affair. Do not, we repeat, DO NOT wear skirts or dresses, no matter how cute you look. On that note, consider this fair warning: gym pants will likely result in very speedy descents down slides. Or worse – electric shocks. Also, strapless bras are not your friend in this battleground, as are low-cut tops. Finally, consider wearing a small crossbody bag (or better yet, a phone necklace) so you can keep your phone, hand sanitiser and some snot-catching tissues handy.  

Don’t forget the socks

Soft play isn’t necessarily the cheapest indoor activity you can do with your child, so you’ll be kicking yourself if you happen to forget the number-one essential: your own socks. Leave them at home and you’ll be stung with an additional cost on top of your entry fee for a pair of foot gloves you’ll never wear again. Bonus points if you bring socks with added grip on the soles – total pro move.  

Get that hair up

Wardrobe sorted? Time to tackle those locks. Don’t forget your hairbands or clips, mums… things get sweaty, and fast. Tie your tresses away from your face and get set to enter stealth mode. 

Prepare for the onslaught

surviving soft play mum

Keep calm and carry on smiling, parents. Think of the children… Photography: Amy Potter

So you’re dressed for the occasion, you’ve got the mane under control and you’ve arrived at your indoor playground of choice. Now it’s time to mentally prepare yourself for what you’re about to experience: hyped up kids, snotty noses, brutish behaviour and potential tears (most likely from you). Yes, it gets feral in there. No, there’s no avoiding it. 

Keep an eye on your child

Indoor play centres have the potential to turn even the most gentle, sweet-natured child into a thuggish lout within mere minutes. They also have the funny ability to bring on mum rage and remind us that sometimes it’s normal to not like other children (and often your own). We’re not necessarily condoning helicoptering, but please don’t be that mum who ignores her bully of a child as they barrel past tiny tots or stockpile all the ballpit balls – no matter how desperately you need coffee

Consider bribes

Look, kids don’t understand the concept of a ‘two-hour limit’. Your polite pleas are bound to fall on deaf ears, so you’re going to need to kick it up a notch and bring out the big guns. Be prepared to promise whatever you need to – lunch, snacks, TV time, a slightly later bedtime – to get your little terrors co-operating and out of there. Whatever works. No judging from us.  

Arm yourself with sanitiser

We know and love that indoor play centres have cleaning policies in place. But you can’t help but feel a little bit grimy once playtime is over. No matter: you’ll have clean hands in a jiffy after a quick squirt or wipe with some antibacterial goodness. Job done. And, with the war cries of hyperactive children echoing in your ears, it’s on to home, where you can reward yourself with a nice big glass bottle of wine. 

There you have it: our full-on guide on how to survive soft play as a mum. You’re welcome. 

Top image: Reinaldo Kevin via Unsplash

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