Celebrate Child Life!

Joslin’s Child Life Specialists, Jen and Micaela, on Giving Tuesday 2012

In between playing outside with friends, watching TV, or reading a book, managing diabetes as a child can be incredibly scary and overwhelming. That’s why Child Life specialists are here, to help children cope with the stress and uncertainty of diabetes. This month Child Life programs around the world have been celebrating Child Life Month through various activities to honor child life!

Who are Child Life Specialists?

Child Life specialists are child development professionals who specialize in supporting children, adolescents, and their families through illness, injury, and health care experiences. They work closely with pediatric team members, including medical and developmental professionals, to establish the unique needs of young patients and families.

What do Child Life Specialists Do?

Here at Joslin, Child Life specialists are often in the playroom doing activities with children. They regularly plan activities in the playroom that help patients and siblings better understand and cope with diabetes. Some of these activities include: encouraging children to express their feelings using medical play to become more familiar and comfortable with medical equipment and supplies, and providing educational activities to enhance children’s knowledge of diabetes and general health. Our child life specialists also encourage interaction between patients in the playroom, allowing the children to learn from one another and be surrounded by other children with diabetes.

Child Life specialists also accompany children in the pediatric lab, supporting them during blood work. They help make blood work less frightening, whether it is a finger check or an arm blood draw. Child Life specialists can help prepare your child for the lab experience, by letting him or her know what they can expect to see, hear, and feel. They are also here to help plan and practice coping strategies, such as deep breathing, and provide distraction techniques, like blowing bubbles, to help make the procedures less stressful.

In addition to lab work, the Child Life specialists are available during other procedures that may cause your child anxiety during a visit, such as a CGM or pump site insertion. They are here to provide preparation and support for all types of situations like these as well.

How is Joslin Celebrating Child Life Month?

Joslin has been celebrating Child Life Month all this week by sending out fun trivia questions and a quiz about Child Life in pediatrics. They are topping of the week with a celebration on Friday for the staff in pediatrics!

Please call (617)732-2603 and ask for someone in Child Life or email childlife@joslin.harvard.edu if you have any questions or would like to learn more about any of the Child Life programs and services.


  1. I have had “juvenile” diabetes since October, 1948. I am now alive,well, happily married with three children, and living near Calgary, Alberta. I went to the Joslin Clinic shortly after my diagnosis, and again a few years later. Growing up with DM was a little bit of a struggle but I certainly managed.

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