All in coping & support

Guest Post: How Child Life Services Helped our NICU Experience

Guest Blog Post by Emily Jasinowski, mother of Mason and Arlo and Little Birch Blogger 

It’s an understatement to say that our son’s NICU journey was difficult on our family. Our worried hearts were wrapped around his health and well being, new diagnoses that dropped out of nowhere, and making decisions about how to be absent from work. We tried to find creative ways to bond with our newborn that didn’t have the ability to breastfeed and had never been home with us.

 SpellBound: Helping Children Cope with Medical Procedures Using Augmented Reality

You know that moment when you watch a child see or do something for the very first time that absolutely fascinates them? You watch them captivated in the experience, their faces painted with joy, surprise and wonder. Their eyes open wide with a sparkle, jaw dropped and mouth opened. It’s simply magical. I wonder if you’re like me, do you the observer feel the same sudden rush of warmth that feels as if it’s hugging your heart? It’s an authentic joy that I find myself grateful for witnessing or helping to create.

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.