Child life services

Hospitalization, medical procedures, illness and pain are often fearful for children of all ages. Medical City Children's Hospital provides support and assistance to help patients and their families deal with these stresses through Child Life Services, which are offered at no additional charge.

Child Life Services is dedicated to reducing the impact of traumatic life events and situations on children and their families. Child life specialists have a strong foundation in childhood development and are trained to address the specific issues children face in medical settings.

The child life team embraces the value of play as a means of healing. We work to help your child continue normal growth and development throughout the hospital experience.

When children know what's going to happen to them in the hospital, they're better able to handle the experience. In collaboration with parents and healthcare professionals, we incorporate hands-on use of play materials and actual medical equipment to help children understand what to expect when they undergo surgery and medical procedures. Medical play also is an opportunity for child life specialists to clear up any misconceptions a child may have.

Playrooms and teen rooms

The child life department also operates our playrooms and teen rooms, which provide kids of all ages with a break from the hospital routine. The rooms are places just to have fun, a safe haven from medical procedures and the stress of hospitalization. Playrooms offer planned activities and free play. The teen room (for patients 12 years and older) offer games, computers and music to provide older kids respite and relaxation.

Support services

The child life department also tends to the needs of each child's family through educational and support services, including:

  • Developmentally appropriate preparation and education for procedures and new diagnoses
  • Support and/or distraction for patients undergoing anxiety-provoking procedures
  • Sibling support, to help them understand a brother's or sister's illness
  • Sibling preparation for visitation to the hospital
  • Grief and bereavement support
  • Opportunity for harmonization, therapeutic play and medical play
  • Special events and holiday celebrations

Tips for preparing your child for surgery

To help children know what to expect when they come to Medical City Children's Hospital, the child life department has prepared the following tip sheets for parents:

Learn more about surgery at Medical City Children's Hospital.

Watch our how to prepare for an MRI video at Medical City Children's Hospital.