If your child suffers from eczema, beware the soft play party invite if you’ve never been before. Soft play places are noisy, full of kids going crazy and lobbing plastic balls at each other and therefore usually one of the last places I want to spend time with my child.
They are also not great for kids with eczema. Having had to endure a string of birthday parties of MyItchyBoy’s classmates (he loved every minute, I should add!) I thought I would give you my top tips for getting through it.
Before you go
After just 30 mins of running around, MyItchyBoy would usually be dripping with sweat and be itchy as hell.
My suggestion is to dress your child in the lightest cotton clothing possible. Short sleeves are best, even in winter (although some places do insist on long sleeves at all times).
Apply a light emollient a few hours before. Too close to kick off time and it will trap sweat or just make your child super slippery.
Ball pool hygiene is not something I want to think about in too much detail. As the kids jump about in them, they kick up a lot of dust from the bottom which is not good if you have a child whose eczema is aggravated by dust mites. Sadly, there’s little to entice a small child away from the wonders of a ball pool and in some soft play places they are at the bottom of slides or somewhere else unavoidable.
My best advice is to keep an eye on your child (you are supposed to do this anyway in these places, although you wouldn’t always guess it). We have frequently found MyItchyBoy tucked away in a corner, overcome with itchiness, having a really good scratch at his skin.
If your child is itchy while playing, find a way to get them to take a few minutes out – aim for every 20 mins or so – to cool down and drink something. A carton of juice and a snack is usually persuasion enough for MyItchyBoy to stay still even if it is for a few minutes.
Take the opportunity to assess any bits of skin that have been scratched at and apply any creams you feel appropriate. An antihistamine may also be a good idea if they do suffer with dust.
Make sure your child drinks plenty if they did get hot and sweaty running around. Have a drink ready for the way home.
Get your child showered off soon after you get them home to get rid of any sweat and dust on their skin. It’s also a nice way to calm them down I find.
Put on plenty of emollient.
MyItchyBoy gets itchy when he’s tired so if he’s been running around for over an hour I try to keep him to a good bedtime to avoid unnecessary itching.
It’s hard to stop your child joining in something like soft play because of their eczema but the last thing you want is sore skin.
What are your top tips? Do you avoid soft play to avoid the itch of eczema?