Easing Fears Through Medical Play

Children learn through play. It’s how they experience the world around them. Every day of their lives, children use play to learn about new things, communicate their feelings and gain confidence to face new challenges. 

Play is also at the heart of everything our child life specialists do. We know children cope better with medical experiences and hospital stays if they are prepared. And the best way to do that is through play. 

Our child life specialists use play to help children:

  • Explore the hospital and their medical experience
  • Release anxiety, express fears and process emotions
  • Participate in normal activities they would do at home
  • Maintain and improve developmental skills

How child life specialists use play

Medical play is a safe way for children to learn about their healthcare experience. Child life specialists use pretend or real medical equipment to help children explore their feelings about an upcoming or past medical procedure or experience. Play is also helpful for planning and rehearsing coping techniques for procedures.

Your child can participate in medical play in their hospital room or in one of our playrooms. Chld life specialists use language and scenarios geared to your child’s developmental stage and experiences outside of the hospital.

Our child life specialists may:

  • Show your child how an IV is inserted
  • Use dolls or stuffed animals as pretend patients
  • Role play medical procedures or experiences

Contact a child life specialist

For more assistance and support, contact our Child Life office at 859-323-6551 or email us.