Child Life

girl plays with blocks in Child Life Services

As a parent, you may feel anxious or have a lot of questions during your visit. At Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Child Life will support your family every step of the way.

Child Life helps patients and families address the emotional and developmental aspects of a child’s hospital visit. Child life specialists are trained to understand the unique concerns and needs of pediatric patients’ and their families.

They know how to help children understand their medical condition and procedure. They give parents a brief respite during a long hospital stay. And they love answering questions.

Our child life team is ready to help in many ways — whether that means using medical play to help a child understand an upcoming surgery, or providing them with play activities as a distraction during a test or procedure.

Child life specialists are available for patients throughout Children’s, including:

  • Inpatient units
  • Radiology
  • Hematology/Oncology Clinic and Infusion Center
  • Outpatient surgery at CARES (Children’s Ambulatory Recovery and Express Services)
  • Emergency Department

Pet Therapy

For children, the ability to interact with a certified therapy dog can have a very positive impact upon their quality of life. Interacting with a pet can sometimes enhance recovery following a serious illness. Certified canine visitors come to Children’s every Thursday morning for about two hours to visit our patients. Therapy dogs meet infection control guidelines, and are escorted to the patient rooms by a Child Life Specialist.

Our Facility Dog, Sven, assists with calming children, medical play and demonstrations, and sibling support.

Playroom Hours, Location, and Guidelines

Daily Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

The hospital playrooms are located on the 4th, 5th and 6th floor of the hospital. If a patient is in another unit they may ask their Doctor for an order to go off the floor.

  • The playroom is primarily intended for patient use. For infection control purposes, siblings and visitors are welcome to play in the playroom if the hospital patient is present.
  • Feel free to take small toys back to the patient’s room for use.
  • Return toys to the dirty toy bin located in the playroom or leave items in the patient room.
  • All patients in the playroom must be supervised by an adult caregiver.
  • NO food or drink is allowed in the playroom.
  • Shoes or socks must be worn at all times.
  • The playroom is a “safe place” for our patients, we ask that no medical procedures or assessments are done in the playroom.
  • Special note for patients in isolation (staff wearing gowns, gloves or masks in your room):  Staff, volunteers or an adult caregivers are welcome to take toys out of the playroom to be used in the patient rooms. However, patients in isolation and their siblings are not allowed in the playroom for their own safety. Please sanitize before picking out items.
  • Please help your children while in the playroom be safe and respectful by modeling good behaviors such as sharing, picking up toys when finished and playing nicely with the toys and others.

Printable Playroom Guidelines (PDF)

Services We Offer

Child life specialists are ready to help patients and families by:

  • Providing patients with opportunities for developmentally-appropriate play during an inpatient stay or outpatient visit
  • Offering developmental support, including:
    • Performing developmental assessments of fine and gross motor skills, as well as language, cognitive, and social development
    • Creating individual play plans designed to help your child reach developmental goals
  • Helping children cope before, during, and after a trip to the hospital, getting a diagnosis, receiving treatment, or having surgery
  • Supporting siblings by providing developmentally appropriate explanations and coping tools
  • Providing assistance and resources to help children understand and cope with the death of a loved one
  • Helping children prepare to return to school after a long absence due to an illness or hospital stay

Child Life Events – March

*Pet therapy dogs visit every Thursday

5:45 p.m.
Horton Hears A Who, Glow Auditorium
4 5 6 7* 8
11 a.m.
Yappy Hour with Sven, 5MS

3:30 p.m. Playroom Activity, 4MS

10:30 a.m. Mini-Carnival, Atrium

12 p.m. Healing Harps, Atrium

10 a.m. Arts & Crafts, Atrium

4:30 p.m.
Playroom Party, 5MS

Pet Therapy Dogs

2 p.m. BINGO, Glow or TV channel 44

5:45 p.m.
The Three Musketeers, Glow Auditorium
11 12 13 14* 15
3 p.m. Birthday Pawwty! Atrium 4:30 p.m.
Playroom Party, 5MS
Pet Therapy Dogs

2:00 p.m.
BINGO, Glow or TV channel 44

10 a.m. Mini-Carnival, Atrium

5:45 p.m.
Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Glow Auditorium

18 19 20 21* 22
11 a.m.
Yappy Hour with Sven, 5MS
10 a.m.
Arts & Crafts, Atrium
4 p.m.
Medical Play, 5MS
Pet Therapy Dogs

2 p.m.
Glow or TV channel 44

5:45 p.m.
Glow Auditorium
25 26 27 28* 29
11 a.m.
Yappy Hour with Sven, 5MS
3:30 p.m. Playroom Activity, 6MS 5:30 p.m.
Big Red Sam, Atrium
Pet Therapy Dogs

2 p.m.
BINGO, Glow or TV channel 44

5:45 p.m. MOVIE NIGHT: The Secret Life of Pets, Glow Auditorium

“Your children are among the greatest delights of my life. I watch these youngsters face their disease every day and bounce back with laughter, imagination, and amazing courage.”

—Christy Hogan, CCLS, Child Life Specialist, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

What To Do Next

For more information about Child Life at Children’s, call 402-955-5322 during normal business hours.

Your child’s nurse or other care team members can also connect you with a child life specialist.

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