- Leave your dignity at the door. This is war.
- Wear sensible clothing. i.e. leggings and a sports-top... oh hang on... that's what you wear every day. Ok. Wear that.
- And 'black-up'.
- Remember. Territory is everything.
- Get organised. Upon arrival scan the area for the ideal vantage point and discuss tactics with your fellow mums via twitter.
- Assign a group of three mums to cover the slide area and send two to the upper levels as look-outs, while you man the ball-pit exit and simultaneously ‘bagsy’ two highchairs.
- Move in packs and take out the under fives first.They're smaller, weaker and their spirits can be broken with the mere promise of cake.
- Sleep and eat* in shifts so as not to relinquish territory.
- *However, don't open a packet of baby-snacks in plain sight of an unruly gang of under fives. You will be violently and quite possibly fatally assaulted. Rice-cake-rage is no joke.
- Also - never leave a sippy cup* unattended. I've seen mums lose fingers... and eyes... and teeth…
- *unless the sippy cup is full of gin and/or wine. That should slow the little bastards down. Some collateral damage is to be expected.
- The slide area is easy to claim; simply place your child at the top and remove their nappy. No-one else will be using the ‘skid-ramp’ today.
- Keep the attendant on their toes by occasionally spoon-feeding your child yoghurt or jam in the ball-pit.
- To clear the tunnel area of excess children, teach your baby to fart in confined spaces.
- Wear protective headgear at all times. No direct hits to the face.
- If necessary, use your own child as a human shield.
- If a weaker member of the team falls behind... leave them. All's fair in love, war and soft-play.
- Only enter the ball-pit if you are confident you can make it out without exposing a nipple and/or arse cheek.
- It's not possible to look glamorous whilst using the slide with your toddler. Bare skin will result in friction burns.
- In extreme conditions, send a toddler assault team into the ball-pit and shout 'floater'. If this move is administered properly, you can clear the entire place in seconds.
- Always have a safe word.
- And gin.