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Child Life Services

Helping children and families cope with life's challenges

A child's experience in the hospital can be scary and overwhelming for the whole family. Our Child Life Specialists can help minimize fear and stress for children and their families through age-appropriate education, activities and support specific to their illness or disability. 

Our Child Life Specialists are certified through the Association of Child Life Professionals and trained in child development and how hospitalization can affect this process. 


Play helps children learn about their world and develop new skills. It is especially important to use play during hospitalization because it's a normal part of a child's life and provides them with comfort. A Child Life Specialist offers developmentally appropriate toys and games and provides opportunities for creative and expressive play. The Child Life Specialist runs the pediatric playroom as well as the facilitation of individual care at the bedside. It is important for families to take breaks while in the hospital so we encourage you to take breaks as we are spending time with your child to help ease their fears and anxiety.


During hospital experiences, children see many new people and unfamiliar things. By explaining these to children in a child friendly way, we can calm fears and decrease anxiety. A Child Life Specialist can help prepare children for procedures using gentle language, play and visual aids. A Child Life Specialist can help children and families cope during procedures by offering support and distraction, as well as use therapeutic medical play to increase children's understanding and comfort with the hospital setting.

Family Support

Our hospital recognizes that the services we provide children affect their entire family. To help meet the special needs of parents and siblings, your Child Life Specialist offers help in explaining a child's hospitalization in a way that children and siblings can understand, serves as a resource for questions about child development and parenting, helps connect families to community resources, and helps parents prepare for the transition home following a discharge or medical procedure.

Special Care Support

Child life and other disciplines use a Wentworth-Douglass special care screening tool to learn more about a child or adult with special needs before providing care. Based on the information, we may limit the number of staff providing care to decrease confusion and anxiety, provide a Social StoryTM that explains in pictures and simple language what the patient will encounter in the hospital, schedule a tour of the facility to help our patient feel better prepared for procedure day, and provide appropriate coping materials on procedure day. Our goal is to make the hospital experience a positive one for your family. Please contact Child Life Services to complete a Special Care Screen. Together we will develop a plan of care to best help them cope with their hospital experience.

Classes and Events

Pre-Surgery Tours

Pre-operative tours help children over three and teens become comfortable with what they will see, hear and feel on surgery day.

Children and their families will:

  • Visit a pre-op room, operating room, and recovery room to familiarize self with equipment.
  • Meet an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist to ask questions about procedure.
  • Talk with a Certified Child Life Specialist, who is trained to help children understand and cope with medical experiences.

To schedule a free tour, contact our Child Life Program at (603) 740-2496

Siblings at Birth

This class is for big brothers and sisters who will be present during the birth of their new baby! Children will learn about the hospital equipment they will see, the stages of labor, how they can help and what the new baby will look like during the delivery. We work with each family to share this information in the way they are most comfortable. 

Teddy Bear Clinic

A fun and exciting way for children to learn about hospitals through play with real medical equipment. Bring a favorite stuffed animal and let your child play doctor and treat imagined injuries and illnesses. Our staff help the children give their animals examinations and take them on a trip to our operating room. The Teddy Bear Clinic helps children feel more comfortable and prepared should they ever have to visit the hospital themselves. 

Contact Us

To schedule a tour or class or for more information about Child Life Services, please call (603) 740-2496.


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