Happy Child Life Month!

 

This is my first child life month as a blogger! So excited!

child-life-month

March is Child Life Month. Even though I am a student, I would like to take a moment to point out this month that is dedicated to an amazing profession…

Child Life Specialist dedicate their careers to helping children understand their medical conditions, medical procedures, and they provide age appropriate actives, use words that children are able to comprehend and makes sure children are able to cope effectively during their hospital stay. A Child Life Specialist notices the smallest of things and makes it their top priority.

What better way to honor those who aid hospitalized children? Right!? So, how do you actually go about celebrating Child Life Specialist? You could honor those CLS in your hospital with:

Posters and Other Displays

  1. This can be done by having a poster stating the mission statement, visions and vales of child life.
  2. Develop five posters showcasing the: Who, what, when, where and why of child life.   *Remember not everyone knows about child life.
  • Who: general information on education, certification, training, photo of the staff with information on each specialist.
  • What:  What is Child life’s role and history of the profession at the hospital
  • When: When are the CLS available?
  • Where: Where are CLS located within the hospital? (i.e. PICU, ER, PEDS, NICU etc.).
  • Why: Why is child life important?
  1. Create a graffiti wall (large sheets of colored paper) and have other medical professionals sign it and say what they like about child life, and why they think it is an important medical profession.

Educational/Informative Events

  1. Plan a child life staff retreat
  2. Host a child life open house
  3. Send short educational child life messages

Special Projects and Giveaways

  • Especially for staff
  1. Provide distraction toys to the staff (i.e. bubbles!)
  2. Luncheon or ice cream—who doesn’t love ice cream!
  3. Have children create child life shirts or other item (hats, fanny packs)
  4. Create a video of other medical professionals showing their graduate for child life. Don’t forget the fun and upbeat music!

Staff Appreciation

  1. Lunch or ice cream!
  2. Order child life shirts or other useful items (maybe cool and fun bags for CLS to carry their distraction and educational toys in!)

 

These are just a few ways one can recognize child life during March. You can find these and other ideas on the child life website: https://www.childlife.org/child-life-profession/child-life-month/suggested-activities.

 

Even though I am still a student, I can’t wait to take part in child life month as an actual CCLS! Happy Child Life month everyone!

 

Until next time!

 

Mended Heart Bear…

Do you know someone who is currently in the hospital for open heart surgery? Perhaps it is an aunt, uncle, grandparent, parent or maybe even a child. Spending time in the hospital can be a scary and uneasy time for everyone! Especially a child. They are in an unfamiliar place, seeing unfamiliar people, sounds, smells and maybe experiencing unfamiliar tastes.

mended-heart-bear

The child or relative is a little apprehensive about their surgery and you want to get them something during their stay. Something special, but what do you give them? A few months back I was surfing pinterest (see my link to my pinterest account on the right hand side) and I discovered a bear called: Mended Heart Bear. This teddy bear has a functional zipper on the chest and a red felt heart that is mended with white stitches (see picture).

This bear is a great gift and the children will like having a toy that has the same scar as them.

Bummer Bears were created by Jenny Robbins after her Aunt Mary had open heart surgery. She wanted to get her aunt something special, and her mom mentioned that her aunt collected teddy bears. So Jenny went out and bought a brown teddy bear, a zipper, a felt heart and some white stitching (for the scar). That was the first mended heart bear in the bummer bear collection.

Jenny then made a second mended heart bear for a friend who was also having open heart surgery. After that Jenny realized she had to make more bears with other injuries (or bummers) as she calls them. Jenny says the best part of the Bummer Bear business is seeing pictures of children (or adults) with their bummer bear.

Child Life note: What a great way to explain to a child about open heart surgery. I know these can’t be washed, but giving them as a gift would be amazing.

Below you will find the link to order a bear. They are $46.00+free shipping. You can also buy them in bulk. Also, there is a second and third link. One leading to other bummer bears and the other is a link for Jenny’s story about the bear.

https://www.bummerbears.com/products/mended-heart-bear (link to buy)

https://www.bummerbears.com/pages/about (more about the bear)

https://www.bummerbears.com/collections/all (link to other bummer bears. Sadly, they are sold out, but you could probably email Jenny and ask about the others). The broken arm is another one that would be good for Child Life Specialist.

Until next time!

I Have a Dream…

Hi everyone! Hope each and everyone of you is having a great new year!

 

We all have goals and dreams that we want to achieve during our life time. It could be going on a mission trip, writing a book or book series (which I have done) or getting married and having a family. While all of the above things I would like to do someday, there is something that I want to achieve more than anything (at the moment).

With my child life knowledge, child development knowledge, family studies knowledge, and psychology knowledge, my overall career goal in regards to child life, is to start a child life department in a children’s psychiatric hospital.

I know, I know, you probably read that last part and thought two things. What! And why?

“Why do you want to start a child life department in a children’s psychiatric hospital?”  I get that question asked a lot when it comes to my career goals.

The reason is simple. Children who are diagnosed with a mental illness deserve to know what their condition is and how it is going to be treated, just like a cancer patient.

I want children to know that their illness is nothing they have done. They didn’t receive this illness because they did something bad or what have you. I want them to know that it is not their fault. I want children to be able to have proper coping skills when they are experiencing a manic phase or some other symptom of their mental illness.  But above all, I want children from an early age to understand that their illness (whether that be mental or physical) doesn’t define them. They define themselves.

I know that this dream is ways down the road, but I am going to make it happen. I am going to make sure that children who have mental illnesses are treated with respect, understand their conditions, make sure their voices are heard and will be accepted for who they really are.

Until next time!

mental-health-pic

A New Year Equals a New Start…

 

child-life

As this year comes to a close we all look back on what we accomplished over the year. For some a college degree, some got married and for others they may have started a new job. Through all of the awful things that occurred this year, we all accomplished something during those hard times. For me, I completed a child life practicum. I was given this opportunity back in October and was so blessed. During those five weeks, I observed the child life specialists as they educated and prepared patients on different procedures (IV starts, blood draws, port access, spinal tap etc.), escorted pet therapy to the patient’s rooms. My favorite was a black Newfoundland dog named Samantha (see picture). This dog was HUGE! She weighed 136 pounds, but she was all fluff and there were tons of dog kisses. *fun fact: I’m not a huge fan of dogs, but with these dogs being therapy dogs, I was completely fine. I facilitated in taking patients around the hospital on Halloween to promote normalcy, engaged with patients and their families.

During one of my many visits to a patient’s room, the patient told me I was his special friend, because I played with him and gave him toys that he enjoyed. When the child was discharged from the hospital, the mom told me that I did an amazing job with him and she really appreciated the time that I spent with them both. That was the highlight of my entire experience at the hospital. Even though I was just a practicum student, I was still helping make a difference in the life of those patients and their families. The new knowledge that I gained will assist me greatly during my child life internship (when that time comes).

So with the new year approaching what do you hope to accomplish? Maybe a down payment on a house, completing college or maybe traveling overseas to another country (I highly recommend Germany).

For me personally, I hope and pray that I complete a child life internship. That is the last step I have to complete my undergraduate degree. After that I will take my exam and be a Certified Child Life Specialist! This accomplishment will put me one step closer to my overall goal with child life—starting a child life department in a children psychiatric hospital (more on that later).

From Peace Hope and Play I hope you all have a fantastic new year!