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Child Life

Child Life Services at Children's of Mississippi

At Children's of Mississippi, our Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) are members of the healthcare team who specialize in helping children and families cope with stressors related to illness, hospitalization, and trauma.  Each of our child life specialists holds a bachelor's or master's level degree, has completed training through a child life clinical internship, and maintains certification through the Child Life Certification Commission.

How Child Life Services Support Our Patients

  • Help kids feel more at ease in the hospital
    For some children, just being inside a hospital can make them feel afraid or anxious. The normal act of playing can help children and teens cope with hospital stays and medical treatments. Our team of child life professionals provides children with opportunities for therapeutic and developmental play, giving patients positive outlets for coping and self-expression.
  • Explain what to expect
    Unknowns related to treatments and procedures can cause anxiety in anyone, especially children. Our Certified Child Life Specialists prepare children and families for what's ahead. This may include teaching children about upcoming procedures or facilitating medical play sessions to help patients process their diagnoses and treatment plans. Medical play helps children become more familiar with medical equipment, clarify any misconceptions, and support their self-confidence.
  • Provide support during specific procedures
    Child life specialists work with children to develop coping plans for medical procedures. Coping plans provide children and teens with a sense of control, help identify and lessen fears, and promote positive experiences in the medical setting.  Child life specialists are also available to accompany and support children during medical procedures, using distraction techniques, breathing exercises, and guided imagery.
  • Comfort in times of loss
    The death of a loved one is a life altering event that affects the entire family. In times of grief, child life specialists work closely with children, siblings, and family members to help them understand and cope. They focus on capturing treasured memories, providing outlets for self-expression, and offering resources for ongoing support.

Get involved

To learn about volunteering within our Child Life program, visit our Volunteers page. 

For information about donating items for our patients, visit umc.edu/inkinddonations or email inkinddonations@umc.edu.

The child life department currently has limited availability to host in-person community events for patients, and our available patient event slots are full at this time. Please check back at a later date. For event guidelines and application, click here.

Child Life Student Opportunities

Child life internships are offered during the spring and fall semesters. Please email childlifestudent@umc.edu for additional information.