Happy Child Life Month!
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Health and Wellness

Happy Child Life Month!

There's a minion reasons to love child life! Get it?

Happy Child Life Month!

Happy First day of March everyone! March is the month of a lot of things. It means Spring, it means sunshine, it means one month closer to summer, St. Patrick’s Day, baseball, and spring break. But guess what else it means? It means it’s the start of Child Life month! Child life is a field not many people are aware of. It’s one of the most rewarding, competitive, and underrated professions a person can go into. Child life specialists are the fun, spunky, energetic people in hospitals who are most likely always carrying a toy in one hand while humming “Let it Go” for the twentieth time this hour. They provide toys, bubbles, games, books and a whole list of other super enjoyable things for your child to use while staying in the hospital.

Child Life specialists are here to take the stress off of the parent and the child. Another word for a child life specialist is a play therapist. They know which toys are developmentally appropriate for each child, and bring them in to essentially distract the child from what can be a very traumatic time in their life. They educate children on procedures in a way that is helpful and calming. They’re the person that holds your child’s hand while the nurse fixes their cut. They’re the ones that blow bubbles to help your child forget that there’s a super helpful straw going into their arm to pump in liquids and medicines to make them feel better. They’re the ones that help explain why the doctor needs to take a funny picture of the inside of your child’s belly. They transport your child in a wagon instead of a wheelchair. They sing songs, play video games, and hand out stickers on a daily basis. In short, they care about the wellbeing of your child.

March is the month that acknowledges what they do. Child life specialists have colored more pictures, rolled more play dough, and sang more Disney songs, than they'd like to admit, but they do so for their patients. Not only do child life specialists help patients, they help other workers in the hospital. They can educate while a nurse prepares an IV drip. They can help calm a patient who is extremely panicked. They can educate mommy and daddy while the doctor fills out the discharge papers. They do so many amazing things, which is why this month we celebrate them!

When I first started volunteering in the pediatric ER I immediately got to see the amazing effect these children had on me. Kids are incredibly resilient. I know that when I'm sick, I just want to be left alone to wallow in self pity. But children, even in their sickest, tiredest moments, will attempt to play, or at least smile. Every patient I've worked with is different. No two are alike which makes what I do so exciting. Some kids love coloring, some love to talk, and some have a hard time adjusting to me. I've seen kids light up when I walk in the room with stickers and bubbles when just before they were crying. It's a common occurrence for kids to tell me they don't want to go home because they're having so much fun, and that is the goal. If we can make the hospital experience a positive one for children, they won't have to be scared or anxious if they ever have to come again.

I've learned what the hottest TV shows are, memorized all the song lyrics to your child's favorite movies, and let children paint my hands and arms. I've gone home covered in stickers, soaked from spilled bubble juice, stained with paint, but every time I've left the hospital I've done so smiling. There is no greater joy than working with kids. Especially kids who need help. No one ever wants to see their child sick or injured in a hospital bed, but unfortunately it happens. But just know that if God forbid you're ever in a hospital with a scared child, ask for a child life specialist. You never know who will walk through the door, but rest assured, they'll be bringing something super fun and they'll do so with a giant happy smile.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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