• Programs and Services

    Our Child Life specialists help your family have a positive experience during your child’s outpatient visit or hospital stay. As members of your healthcare team, we work directly with you and your child to reduce anxiety and stress during medical procedures or hospitalization. Our staff introduces books, toys, games and educational play activities that help your child cope with their medical care.

  • Children face many new and often stressful experiences during their outpatient treatment or hospital stay. Child Life specialists use pictures, books, puppets / dolls and realistic medical equipment to help prepare children in age-appropriate ways. We provide emotional support and teach techniques to help your child cope and relax.

    Familiar and fun activities can help children feel less anxious about their fears and concerns related to unfamiliar surroundings, people and events. Our inpatient activity centers provide toys, games, art, books, movies and music to help children feel more comfortable. We offer age-appropriate activity centers including an infant/toddler room, a school-age room, and a teen room.

    Siblings of patients are welcome to visit the activity centers when accompanied by an adult and when visitor restrictions are not in place.
    Cincinnati Children’s offers Music Therapy at its Main Campus (Burnet), College Hill, and StarShine locations; Art Therapy at College Hill; and with the palliative care patients in the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute. Learn more about Creative Arts Therapies.
    The Division of Child Life and Integrative Care uses two facility dogs, Drummer and Leica, to provide physical and emotional support to patients at Cincinnati Children’s as part of the Animal Assisted Therapy program. The two facility dogs will be at Cincinnati Children’s every day with their handlers and will have access to clinics and inpatient units. Learn more about the Animal Assisted Therapy Program.

    The Child Life School Program gives patients the opportunity to complete assignments and stay connected with school during their hospital stay. Instruction takes place in our location A7 schoolroom or at bedside, when needed. With parental permission, we can speak to your child’s school about assignments.

    Arrangements for attending school can be made by calling the hospital school at 513-803-1027 or by contacting your child's nurse or Child Life Specialist.

    Child Life specialists can connect you with a variety of reading materials to help you learn about your child’s diagnosis, hospitalization and coping strategies.

    Child life specialists work closely with the Adaptive Care Team (ACT) to help prepare children with developmental and behavioral challenges for their medical care. Children are supported in both the outpatient clinics and during hospitalization. Learn more about the Adaptive Care Team.

    Children are usually less anxious when they know what to expect before surgery. Our pre-operative tour offers children age 3 years and older the opportunity to see what it will be like on the day of surgery. They will learn about medical equipment, anesthesia and what it is like to fall asleep for the operation. We also offer tours that are specifically designed for teenagers and parents of children who are not age appropriate for the regular tour.

    Our tours take place at the campus where your child's surgery is scheduled. Find more information on how to arrange for a preoperative tour .

    Child Life specialists offer support to those coping with grief, loss and traumatic life changes. We partner with Social Services and Pastoral Care to help patients and families during these challenging times.