What is Child Life?
Child Life is a specialized program to help pediatric patients and their families cope effectively with hospitalization.
Child life specialists are trained to understand the different ways children process their emotions in stressful situations. Using an approach rooted in child development, child life specialists provide age-appropriate therapeutic play, education and psychological preparation for procedures, focused sibling support and much more in order to reduce fear, anxiety and pain for children and families.
The activities and interactions help patients and siblings better understand what is happening, as well as build rapport and trusting relationships with the child life specialist and medical staff.
Patient Education, Preparation & Play
"So much of what we do is play-based since that’s where kids typically reside, so that’s where we try to meet them — it’s where they grow and learn and develop and expand."
— Amy Rohyans Stewart, Montana Children's Child Life Coordinator
During a hospital stay, children may get an IV, have blood drawn, need a scan or x-ray, and/or undergo various procedures and tests. Establishing space for our pediatric patients to still be kids, in whichever capacity is safest and appropriate for them, helps alleviate many of the potentially negative effects of hospitalization on their emotional and psychosocial well-being.
Our child life specialists work closely with our young patients, from toddlers to teens, guiding them through procedures with age-appropriate explanations and preparations.
To learn more about supporting Montana Children's Child Life Program, contact Carly Rickard at firstname.lastname@example.org