Child Life Services
Children like the familiar, so when they go to the hospital, their stress and anxiety levels increase. The child life specialists at Lutheran Children’s Hospital help children and their families feel more comfortable during hospitalization, outpatient care or testing/procedures.
Click here to hear more about child life specialists from Lutheran Children's Hospital families.
Our trained child development experts use a variety of techniques and special activities, including:
Medical Play: Children play with medical equipment to help them express anxieties or fears and process their experience. Once children share their feelings, specialists can dispel misconceptions and make the visit less stressful.
Coping Strategies: Squeezing Play-Doh or using guided imagery are examples of ways children can cope with pain and upcoming procedures. Children are taught coping strategies before an IV is started, blood is drawn or injections are given. When children can focus on something other than the procedure, they are better able to cope with the situation.
Distraction: Crafts, movies, games and toys are used to distract children from the reason for their hospital visit. These types of distractions may also be used during procedures.
Education: Fear of the unknown can make anyone uneasy. Child life specialists prepare children for their experience by explaining - in kid-friendly terms - what will happen before, during and after surgery or throughout treatment.
Relaxation: Relaxing in the hospital can be very difficult. Child life specialists can provide calming music or teach relaxation exercises to help young patients remain calm and get the rest they need to heal. The hospital’s board certified music therapist is also available to ease anxiety, manage pain and aid healing.
Family Support: Hospitalization and illness create stress for the families of young patients, too. Child life specialists can recommend resources and techniques to help parents and siblings during these stressful times. Trained volunteers supervised by child life staff are also available to offer support to families.
Interested in a Child Life Internship?
Lutheran Children's Hospital offers a 14-16 week unpaid internship for the fall, winter/spring and summer semesters. Independent or affiliated students may apply. Two students are typically accepted per semester. The application process and deadline is determined by the Child Life Council. Please use the common application form found on the Association of Child Life Professionals website (childlife.org) and include a copy of your transcripts (unofficial will be accepted), as well as a cover letter with resume. Please send your completed application with all the requirements to Sarah Somers, MS, CCLS, CPST, 3rd floor Pediatrics at Lutheran Children's Hospital.