What is a Child Life Specialist?

The purpose of Child Life is to reduce the negative impact of stressful or traumatic life events and situations that affect the development, health, and well-being of infants, children, youth, and families.
Child Life Specialists work to ensure that life remains as normal as possible for children in healthcare settings and other challenging environments.
Child Life Specialists focus on the psychosocial and developmental needs of children, collaborating with families and other health care providers to:

  • Prepare children for medical procedures or treatment using language that children understand
  • Introduce coping strategies to help reduce anxiety and enhance cooperation with the health care team
  • Provide support and distraction during medical procedures
  • Offer opportunities for play and expressive activities, to encourage normal development and a sense of fun in spite of challenging circumstances
  • Promote family-centered care by providing information, advocacy, and support to families of pediatric patients

Child Life Specialists are professionally trained and typically receive an undergraduate degree in a child services-related field. They must complete a practicum as well as an internship in a children’s hospital before receiving official certification from the Child Life Council.
The Child Life Council is a non-profit organization that advances the well-being of children and families by promoting effective, quality child life services in health care environment. The CLC organizes professional development opportunities for child life specialists, facilitates the exchange of knowledge and resources, and monitors the latest research and developments relative to the child life profession.

To learn more about the requirements necessary to becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist visit the official Child Life Council website.

Want to become a Child Life Specialist?
For more information about careers in Child Life at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center visit the CCHMC Child Life Dept page.

Click here to view a video detailing a comprehensive history of the profession.

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