Marie Louise McConville: Parents should consider others using soft play centres and not let their kids run wild

Parents need to supervise their kids using soft play centres
Marie Louise McConville

Holy goodness, what a carry on.

Just when I thought it was ok to finally sit down and have a cup of tea, full scale war breaks out and it's time for mama to put on her spandex and cape and fly to the rescue.

Does anybody remember when soft play areas were just that - a place where kids could enjoy soft play?

When my nephew was little, he loved going to the nearest centre and having fun.

Now and again these days, I take my kids out for some soft play and they have an absolute ball.

It's just a pity so many parents forget the whole point of these play areas and instead treat them like a free babysitting service where they can just let their children run wild, while they sit on their phones and completely ignore their little angels as they cause mayhem.

I witnessed just such activity the other day when I took Abbie and James out for some soft play fun.

The smaller kids were enjoying themselves while around them two older boys were running absolutely mad.

Shouting and screaming, throwing things, banging into other children, they were spoken to a number of times by staff who told them to calm down.

Their adults were also spoken to.

A while later, James, who was minding his own business, was approached by one of these boys who pushed him to the ground before screaming in his face "no babies allowed".

Well, with the speed of lightning, I flew up the frame to get to James who was crying.

As I lifted him, I gave one of the older boys a piece of my mind.

Staff from the centre were quick to approach the adults accompanying the boys, who didn't seem too happy to be called away from their phones.

They told staff they didn't realise there had been an issue - despite the fact they had been spoken to previously.

One of the adults told me she was just a babysitter for one of the boys and apologised.

Both parties were then asked to leave and rightly so.

It may come as a surprise to some parents, but soft play is not somewhere you can simply dump your kids and let them do whatever they want.

It's meant to be an environment where children can play safely.

It's hard to believe these places have now become a battleground but rest assured, next time, I'll be bringing my armour.


Take a deep breath ladies - he's back.

It's been a few months since we've seen the lovely Jamie Dornan but fear not because he is set to star in a new BBC Two drama, Death and Nightingales, which is set in Northern Ireland.

Described as a drama "about love, betrayal, deception and revenge", Mr Dornan will play the charming Liam Ward in the new three-part series which is based on Irish writer Eugene McCabe's County Fermanagh-set novel.

Now, the likelihood is we won't see as much of Mr Dornan in this as we did in Fifty Shades but still, we're happy.



The summer is upon us, so how about treating the kids to a trip to the theatre to see CBeebies star, Bing?

Bing and his friends have just started a UK tour and the Bing stage show is coming to Derry and Belfast.

Fans can join Bing, Sula, Coco and Pando as they learn how to tell stories by pretending, dressing-up and singing songs.

Flop and Amma are there to help, but in this magical world of make-believe things don't always go according to plan.

Further information about the show is available at

Bing Live will be at the Milliennium Forum on July 4 and 5 and at the Waterfront Hall on July 7 and 8.

I have two family tickets for Bing Live in Derry and also two family tickets for Bing Live in Belfast.

If you fancy winning a family ticket, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Entrants must also state which venue they would prefer

Closing date for entries is noon Tuesday, June 12, 2018

(Q) On which children's TV channel is Bing shown?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply


The winners of the Country Comes To The City competition are Teresa Mallon from Belfast; Marie Heagney from Moneymore; and Katie O'Hagan from Garvagh.

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