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Child Life

Play is an important and familiar part of life for children. 

Certified child life specialists (CCLS) have college degrees in areas similar to child development, psychology, education or therapeutic recreation.

Child life employees maintain specially equipped playrooms that are safe, stress-free places for patients and their siblings to play. If your child is unable to participate in playroom activities, bedside play is available for all ages.

How Can Child Life Specialists Support Your Family During a Hospital Experience?
  • Minimize fear and stress
  • Provide education prior to medical procedures and offer support during procedures
  • Support the patient in the context of his or her family, culture and developmental stage
  • Engage and energize children and families through play, music therapy and special events
  • Reduce educational concerns due to hospitalizations
  • Provide support for families and siblings who may be affected by a diagnosis, illness, trauma or grief
  • Offer radiology and surgery pre-procedural tours to help familiarize the setting
  • Encourage parent and caregiver participation in their child’s health care

Community Visitors  

Thank you for your interest in volunteering your time to provide an activity or performance for our patients and families. Before you plan a visit to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, please read our visitor letter and visitor guidelines, and then complete and submit an application. In order to accommodate as many interested community groups as possible, we ask that you only request a visit once every 6 months.

Community visits and events are greatly restricted during the months of November through April. This is due to the increased number of isolated patients with flu and respiratory illnesses. Thanks for your understanding.

Features of Child Life

Hospital School Program

We believe that a child’s school experience supports the healing process. Our hospital school program helps to provide normalcy and assist in a smooth transition back to the classroom.

Music Therapy

As a part of child life services, music therapy is available to your child. Music therapy is an established health profession that utilizes musical interventions to address specific goals for individuals of all ages.

Professional Opportunities

We offer both child life practicum and child life internship opportunities. We strive to offer students a wide variety of experiences within the hospital setting as well as a solid understanding of the child life profession. We accept students with or without a college affiliation.