Child Life Services

The Child Life Council definition of Child Life Specialists:

"Child life specialists are trained and certified professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events.

Armed with a strong background in child development and family systems, child life specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization. Because they understand that a child’s wellbeing depends on the support of the family, child life specialists provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members. They also play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress."

What is a Child Life Specialist?


Child Life Specialists speak the language of children by providing FUN play and learning opportunities to help promote understanding of his or her own medical needs and/or his or her sibling's medical needs. 

What can I do with a Child Life Specialist?

Have fun! Learn! Grow! Understand! Express! Be Creative! Play! Prepare! Laugh!

There are so many different activities that you might do with a Child Life Specialist to have fun, to learn new things and to help you to cope during stressful situations. 


Some of the fun things you might do with a Certified Child Life Specialist include:

  • Arts and crafts

  • Medical play and psychoeducation (learning about an illness in a fun and creative way)

  • Playing games

  • Making music

  • Learning ways to refocus during, before and after medical procedures 

  • Siringe painting or making art projects out of medical supplies

  • Express feelings

  • Create your own story book


Child Life Specialists help to:

  • Normalize the hospital environment

  • Advocate for the child and their families and provide additional emotional support before, during and after procedures

  • Promote understanding of medical conditions in a developmentally appropriate way

  • Encourage the indivdual to continue participating in activities that are FUN and fufilling and providing adapative and creative ways to make this possible despite otherwise limiting circumstances

  • Encourage and maintain self-esteem and healthy development

For more information about Child Life Specialists please refer to the Child Life Council website here.

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© 2015 by Jenna Bollard