Last Friday was our DS's third birthday, so DH and I took him swimming at the local pool with some friends and then headed to McDonalds for lunch. We ordered our food and sat in the kids play area so the little ones could run around.
There were a lot of kids in the playroom. In addition to the 4 kids in our group, there were probably another 10-12 kids playing. They weren't all playing nicely, some of the older ones were really picking on the younger ones. I even commented to my husband that the kids seemed to outnumber the adults by about 4 to 1.
Anyhow, about 1/2 hour after we arrived a woman came into the playroom and called out "okay kids, 5 minutes" and left. I watched her walk to a table in the restaurant area and sit down with another woman. Five minutes later, she came back and told the kids that they were leaving. After some complaining and whining, five kids (I would guess between the ages of 5 and 10) came out of the play structure and left with the woman. Two of them were the kids that were causing most of the arguing and fighting.
I was really kind of shocked and almost said something to this woman, but wasn't sure if that was my place to do so.
Anyhow, I guess my question is this? Do you allow your children to play unsupervised in a restaurant play area? If yes, why do you feel this is okay?
EDIT TO ADD: I am actually surprised at the number of parents who allow their children to play unsupervised in the play areas. I honestly thought this woman was just an anomally and that the majority of parents would never dream of doing this.
Maybe their play structures are different than the one I was at. The one at the McDonalds is basically a huge, enclosed climbing structure with slides. Even while sitting in the play area, it is difficult to see your kids. The only way to really know what they are doing is to listen. It's really hard to supervise your children when there is a soundproof glass wall between them and you. And maybe there are no signs, like the one at McDonalds that specifically states that children are not to be left unattended in the play area and that they must be supervised at all times.
I personally don't get it. Like I said in the title of my post, I really do enjoy a quiet cup of coffee (which, BTW hasn't happened since the day my son was born) but I would never shirk my responsibilities as a parent just to have one.
And to those parents who do allow their children to play unsupervised, take a moment to think about the parents who are in the playroom keeping an eye on things. Who do you think has to act as referee when your children are arguing or fighting with our children?
January 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Well, for 1 they are filthy lol. For 2, the kids at them are always the biggest brats with the trashiest laziest parents (as OP pointed out lol). And 3, the ONE time I took them, GLASS was found in the ball pit. Unfortunately, it was found by my oldests playmates knee. She ended up with 12 stiches. It was of no fault of the establishment....they had raked it like they were supposed to, it was found out later some teenagers thought it would be funny and tossed it in. Upon inspection, they also found a ton of mold i the pipes of the structure and bits of other sharp objects.
Just curious as to why your kids don't play on them.
My MIL is always letting my DS eat/do things he's not supposed to eat/do, even though I've asked her not to a thousand times. It's a grandparent thing. I swore to my DH the other day that I would NEVER do that when I have grandkids, it is so annoying.
My kids dont play in those things when Im present. My dad sometimes takes them even though Ive asked him not to, and I know he always stays in the room
January 8, 2013 at 10:11 PM
I had never been to a chick-fil-a before, so I don't know why they are like that.
My kids never played in a "restaurant" play area though.....so I don't really know much about them.
I've never been to Chick-Fil-A (we don't have them in Canada). I don't understand why a play area wouldn't have a seating area for parents. Personally, I wouldn't allow my children to play in a play area without me being there to supervise. So I guess next time I head down south I won't be eating at Chick-Fil-A.
I never took my kids anywhere with a play area....but if I had, I would have stayed with them.
When I was in the states visiting last month - I met a friend for coffee. She wanted to go to Chick-FIL-A....I can't eat there, but can have coffee anywhere so that's where we met. She brought her two daughters along...ages 4 and 2. We sat at a table near the door to the play area and she just put her kids in there to play. There were only 2 other kids in there - about the same ages. The other girls' father was also at a table near the door. I noticed that there wasn't anywhere to sit in the play area....just a small bench for taking off shoes. So, even if a parent wanted to be in there, they would have to be standing.
My husband doesn't like them to go into them because of some kids not being supervisored. He thinks they are gross cause you never know how often they are cleaned. We actually don't have a lot of those play area's in our fast food places. so that helps.
Do you mean that your girls don't ever play in those play areas? Just curious as to why?
No, my girsl aren't allowed to play in play area's like that.
by Two_HeartsJanuary 9, 2013 at 12:59 PM
My DD is ten ..and yes i would allow her to play on her own, however ..i sit where i can watch her through the glass and if i see her causing any issues than i deal with them.
At the age of ten you need to give your children some independance, but you also need to parent and watch them at the same time in these situations.
I always stay with my son. He'll be 3 in a month, so I keep a pretty close eye on him, especially when there are bigger kids around. Those play areas are supposed to have the parents supervising, not using them as a dumping place so they can go socialize.
by crazymom21January 9, 2013 at 5:06 PMYes, I still watch them through the glass. We don't go very often. I like getting food and going to the park.
by KmaryJanuary 9, 2013 at 8:33 PM
I don't physically stand in the play area. We've only been to those a couple of times, but quite frankly, our fast food joints just aren't that huge. I sit at a table that is within eyesight of the play area. I'm extremely closeby and can physically see them at any point, but no, I don't stand guard in the area itself. I'm not a paranoid psycho.
If there are kids who are in the play area and there is no adult in there supervising them they are not suppose to be in there. If they are also causing trouble and the adult is either in the other room of the restaurant or in the play area but,doing nothing...I have tried to say something to the kids myself about being nice...and I have also gone and told a manager before.
January 10, 2013 at 3:08 AM
No. If my DF and I take our nieces to play in the play area we stay in there with them. They are 5, 5, and 10.