Children's Hospital Colorado

Child Life Specialists

The Child Life Program at Children's Hospital Colorado is staffed by more than 40 child life specialists. They help patients and families adjust and cope with the hospital or clinic setting, illness or injury and the treatments involved. Child life specialists are trained in how to use play, recreation and educational techniques to assist children and families. Child life services are available to patients at Children's Colorado at no extra charge. 

Who are child life specialists?

As trained professionals, each specialist has a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the areas of child life, human development and family studies, child and adolescent development, counseling, special education or similar fields. Specialists are required to maintain professional certification by the Child Life Council.

Child life services

Medical preparation and presurgery teaching

When a child or adolescent is scheduled for a medical test, procedure or surgery, a child life specialist can help teach and prepare them. By giving just the right amount of information that’s based on the child’s developmental level and situation, a child’s fears of their upcoming experience can be decreased. These services can also help parents become more familiar with hospital procedures and information.

Support during procedures

Child life specialists can help children and adolescents reduce pain and anxiety during medical procedures. This is done by using techniques such as alternative focuses and relaxation exercises. Child life specialists can also assist parents in helping your child during medical procedures.

Medical play

This hands-on play experience uses real or pretend medical equipment and supplies to help children become familiar and more comfortable in the hospital. This opportunity allows children to express their feelings and fears about their healthcare experience and become more calm and confident.

Therapeutic play activities

Specialists provide therapeutic play activities to help decrease pain, meet treatment goals, learn new skills and shorten recovery time. Therapeutic play activities can occur at your child’s bedside or in an activity room.

Support for brothers and sisters

We understand that brothers and sisters are affected by illness and injury, too. They may need help understanding what is happening and how to work through their feelings and concerns about their sibling. Specialists are available to help brothers and sisters by giving support and answering their questions.

Parent education and support

Specialists give emotional support and information to parents to help their child or adolescent cope with what is going on. Understanding how children at different developmental levels may see their experiences can help parents choose how to best support their child.

Emotional support

Specialists provide emotional support to children and teens to help them process their experiences and feelings. This support can be given individually or in a group setting.

Contact our Child Life Department at 720-777-6979.