When a child has to go to the hospital, whether it be for an outpatient appointment, a day surgery or an overnight stay, it brings nervousness and anxiety to the whole family. At Tufts Medical Center in Boston, we have a special program called Child Life Services dedicated to ensuring that all aspects of your child’s life go on as normal, from play to learning.
The Child Life Services Program, initiated in 1948 as one of the nation’s first hospital activity programs for children, is designated to help patients and their families cope with the stress of illness, injury, disability and hospitalization. We offer a range of services including tutoring, arranging overnight privileges for parents, support groups and play.
Play is a vital component of children’s lives; at all stages of development, play is the major way that children communicate, learn, rehearse, relax and have fun. Children gain a sense of mastery and control through play, leading to an increased ability to cope with stress. Play is a valuable way to help children in the hospital express their feelings and deal with being ill. The Tufts Medical Center pioneered the concept of integrating play into the daily routine, and it is an important part of the care Child Life provides.