How We Help


Play has a vital role in promoting a child’s growth and development. It allows for self-expression, enhances the child’s ability to cope with stress, provides for a sense of control, normalizes the healthcare setting, and helps meet developmental milestones.

At UMC Children’s Hospital, we have a playroom and a teen room (for patients 10 years or older) for pediatric patients and siblings. In addition, there is a small play area located in Outpatient Surgery and the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic

How We Help


Children who have been prepared for healthcare events experience less fear and anxiety and tend to adjust more effectively to future medical encounters.

Child life specialists prepare patients through the use of:

  • Appropriate explanations of procedures based on the child’s age and understanding
  • Techniques for coping with anxiety and stress
  • Medical play to promote mastery of medical procedures using teaching dolls and medical books

Support and Coping During Procedures

Each child is unique and processes stressful events differently. When a child is allowed to choose effective coping methods for a medical procedure, it provides a sense of control during their experience.

Child life specialists guide and support children through difficult procedures utilizing a variety of techniques such as:

  • Step by step explanation throughout a procedure
  • Pain management techniques
  • Coping methods such as deep breathing, blowing bubbles or holding a caregiver’s hand
  • Distraction
  • Positioning for comfort, which allows a caregiver to hold or sit closely alongside the child during a medical procedure. This helps the child feel secure, comforted and supported by a trusted adult.
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