Child Life Programs for Your Hospitalized Child

Help yourself, your child and your family cope with and minimize the stress of a hospitalization. Reach out to the Child Life specialists at The Children’s Hospital.

Whole Person Care for Your Child

Take advantage of the Child Life professionals at The Children’s Hospital, part of your child’s medical team and part of the largest Child Life program in Oklahoma. You’ll get the whole person care your child needs to support physical healing, psychosocial health and emotional well-being throughout a hospitalization.

At The Children’s Hospital, you know you’re in the best place with the best people because each Child Life specialist holds bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees in child development, psychology or related areas, as well as national certification through the Association of Child Life Professionals.

Expert Child Life Services

In addition to promoting positive healing and age-appropriate developmental experiences during a hospital stay, Child Life specialists help your child learn to cope and adjust in circumstances that might otherwise feel overwhelming.

Your child and family benefit from a wide range of services provided by Child Life specialists who:

  • Explain medical procedures in child-friendly language
  • Teach relaxation, distraction and coping skills before, during and after medical treatments and when facing chronic illness or life-altering conditions
  • Offer emotional support for your child and family, including siblings
  • Lead therapeutic play activities that help your child express emotion and manage distress during hospitalization
  • Educate parents and caregivers about child development and response to hospitalization
  • Engage your child in recreational play designed to encourage development using onsite activity areas, including The Zone, or at your child’s bedside
  • Coordinate community events, parties and seasonal celebrations throughout the year to make the hospital environment as normal as possible for kids and their families

Find Child Life specialists assigned to most patient care areas in The Children’s Hospital or ask your child’s nurse or doctor for a referral.

Hospital Orientation for Your Child & Family

You can help reduce your child’s anxiety before hospitalization by participating in free educational sessions with Child Life specialists to better prepare everyone in your family for the experience.

You’ll tour hospital areas where your child may receive care, hear age-appropriate explanations of medical events and view a demonstration of therapeutic/medical play activities for hands-on learning. During medical play, your child sees some of the actual equipment used for their procedure, such as an IV or an anesthesia mask, and can touch, hold or play with it to become more at ease in the medical environment.

Preparing for Surgery

Call on The Children’s Hospital’s Child Life specialists as you and your family prepare for your child’s surgery or medical procedure. Research shows that providing information about surgical procedures before the event, using language children can understand, lowers anxiety and helps children recover more quickly than those who don’t receive age-appropriate information.

Start the conversation with your child by reading through the special eBook created by The Children’s Hospital – It’s Your Visit – and narrated by Chipper, a cartoon-like character your child can enjoy.

Explore information about preparing for surgery, tips for parents and surgery services for children at The Children’s Hospital.