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Child Life and Therapeutic Arts Programs

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Our Child Life and Therapeutic Arts programs help patients and their families develop ways to cope with fear, anxiety and separation from home and school. As the medical team is attending to your child's physical needs, our child life specialists are attending to their developmental, psychosocial, and emotional needs, which can be critical in the treatment and healing process. Our board-certified music and art therapists work as part of the interdisciplinary treatment team to develop individualized goal areas that are unique to each child’s needs. Hospital schoolteachers help continue your child’s education in a positive and encouraging atmosphere, and the Child Life Zone offers a therapeutic space for playing, creating, and connecting with others.


At Phoenix Children’s, we know that kids need to be kids – in or out of the hospital. Our Child Life program is here to see children through the challenges of illness, hospitalization and medical treatment.

Child life specialists understand how illness and hospitalization can affect coping and normal child development. The Child Life team at Phoenix Children’s collaborates with other practitioners to offer personalized support to your family throughout your stay. Together, we’ll help reduce your child’s anxiety and encourage healing and healthy development.

Studies at Phoenix Children’s show that kids who receive child life services experience less emotional stress, develop effective coping strategies and have an improved understanding of their illness, hospitalization and overall care.

How Our Child Life Staff Can Help

Child life staff find ways to make health related or hospital experiences understandable, manageable and even fun. We support families by:

  • Helping children understand diagnoses, procedures and hospitalizations, as well as specific personal health concerns
  • Assisting a brother or sister who is having difficulty coping through a sibling's hospitalization
  • Recommending appropriate play and activity ideas  
  • Providing information about your child's development or addressing other concerns
  • Suggesting developmentally appropriate explanations or approaches that you can use when talking to your child about things pertaining to his or her medical treatment

We can also provide activities for your child and family to enjoy. Playrooms – available to hospital patients and healthy siblings accompanied by an adult – are open seven days a week, with varied hours by unit. The Zone, which features 3,800 square feet of state-of-the-art fun, is open to patients six and older, seven days a week.

The Child Life Team

The Child Life team at Phoenix Children’s includes:

  • Child life specialists – Our department employs more than 35 child life specialists. These healthcare professionals have education and training in helping children and families to better cope with their hospital stays. They take a tailored approach that blends education, therapy and play to promote health and wellness.
  • Child life assistants – More than 15 child life assistants lend a hand to specialists and provide support to patients and families over the course of their stays. They supervise playrooms, plan crafts and other special activities and facilitate opportunities for play.

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