Patients & Visitors

Child Life Program

The hospital can be a stressful place for children. Phoenix Children's Child Life Program helps patients of all ages – and their families – develop ways to cope with fear, anxiety and separation from home and school.  Our staff works closely with family members during hospitalization. As the medical staff is attending to the child's physical needs, our Child Life Specialists are attending to the child's developmental, psychosocial, educational and emotional needs – which can be critical in the treatment and healing process.

Our specialists know it's important for kids to be kids – even when they're in the Hospital. To learn more about how a Child Life Specialist can help your child, please ask your nurse.

Child Life at a glance

What: 

The Child Life Program helps patients and families cope with fear, anxiety, and separation from home and school during their hospital stay.

Why: 

A national study at Phoenix Children's Hospital proved that children exposed to a Child Life Program experienced less emotional stress, displayed more effective coping, and showed a greater understanding of the hospital experience. 

How: 

Approaches from a developmental perspective for procedural preparation, specific coping strategies, and medical play reduce children's anxieties and support healing during hospitalization and illness.

Who: 

There are 25 Child Life Specialists, 11 Child Life Assistants, and six full-time school staff in the program.

Where: 

The Program is available in all inpatient departments of Phoenix Children's Hospital, Arizona's leader in pediatric care and one of the largest free-standing children's hospitals in the country.

Child Life can help when:

  • Your child needs help understanding the hospital
  • Your child is worried about a test or procedure
  • A brother or sister is upset about a sibling's hospitalization
  • You're looking for play and activity ideas
  • You need information about your child's development
  • You need help with child-friendly explanations of hospital experiences

Brothers and sisters

The patient isn't the only person who is affected by the hospitalization. Brothers and sisters may also be concerned, and may even feel left out. They are welcome to visit during the hospital stay or send photos or draw pictures for their sibling's room. It is important for siblings to understand the nature of the Hospital and their brother or sister's illness. If you need suggestions or would like to speak with a Child Life Specialist call (602) 933-2273.

Playrooms

Child Life assistants supervise all playrooms, and plan crafts and other special activities. All playrooms are open to healthy brothers and sisters, when they are with an adult. Each playroom is open Monday through Friday.

East Building

2nd Floor:

Mon – Fri: 9:30 a.m. - noon; 2:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Sat – Sun: 9:30 a.m. – noon; 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Main Building

CVICU:

Mon – Fri: 9:30 a.m. - noon; 2:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Sat – Sun: 9:30 a.m. – noon; 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

7th Floor:

Mon – Fri: 9:30 a.m. - noon; 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.; 5:30 - 7p.m.

Sat – Sun: 9:30 a.m. – noon; 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.; 5:30 - 7p.m.

8th Floor:

Mon – Fri: 9:30 a.m. - noon; 2:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Sat – Sun: 9:30 a.m. – noon; 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Weekend and holiday hours may vary; please check with the playroom in your area.

The Child Life Zone

The Child Life Zone at Phoenix Children’s Hospital is a state-of-the-art play area that provides an escape for patients and their families from daily life in the hospital. This 3,800 square foot, procedure-free area gives our patients a safe place to forget about being in the hospital for a little while and just have fun.

The Zone is located on the first floor of the East Building.

Special events

The Child Life Department often hosts special entertainment activities and celebrity visits for patients and families. Watch for informational flyers posted near playrooms.

Child Life - In the news

Check out Ellington's story at Raising Arizona Kids.

Internships

Learn about our Child Life Internship program.

Practicum

Learn about our Child Life Practicum.

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