All in coping & support

5 Surgery Prep Tips for Toddlers that “Carry-on” to a surprising environment – the airport!

My first rotation during my child life internship was in the day surgery unit of a large free standing children's hospital. It was six weeks long and was followed by another 9 weeks in other areas of the hospital. No matter what area I was observing, learning and practicing, child life specialists were key professionals apart of the team to help ease anxiety and promote positive coping with the unfamiliar and intimidating hospital environment. 

Hospital Hacks!

When a child is in the hospital, life is disrupted. As a child life specialist, I had the honor of making connections with countless families who have shared their hospital stressors. Many are unique to their family or situation, but also many more the same. Luckily, over the years families have graciously shared what has worked for them.

How to help toddlers cope with dental exams

I had just put down the baby for a nap when I checked my calendar. Oh, come on! I’m going to pretend this was my verbal response, a G-rated curse replacement my mom has used for years in front of kids. My daughter’s dental appointment was in 40 minutes. I always book dental appointments months in advance and this one snuck up this tired mom of two. At 2 ½ years old my daughter, as you might be familiar with, doesn’t exactly love to have Mickey suddenly turned off and rushed to get out the door. I thought okay, we’ll see how this goes! I woke up a confused sleepy baby and rushed the three of us out the door. Let’s do this.

Magic of creating a healing environment

I’ve had so many rewarding and humbling moments as a child life specialist that I often felt like I won the “career lottery.” I often thought about how grateful I was to be given the opportunity to make a positive difference at a time when a child or family is the most hurt, confused, angry, sad or frightened.

How to prepare your child for surgery

Going to the hospital or clinic for surgery can be scary at any age. There are unfamiliar people, sights, sounds and unknown outcomes. There are school events or sports missed, families separated, and lets be honest, hangry individuals. 

 As child life specialists, our role is to help ease anxiety related to the surgical procedure and environment through preparation and education, play, psycho-social support, and helping the child/family create a coping plan that works best for them.