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Child Life

Child Life at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital helps children cope with the adjustments of being in a hospital by providing a variety of play experiences. These activities help both children and families gain a greater understanding of medical procedures, which helps reduce stress and fear of the unknown. Through play, the child life specialist helps facilitate the emotional and social growth of a child during the crisis of illness.

Child Life

In collaboration with the Yale-New Haven medical staff, a certified child life specialist is available to all children in the hospital and in our clinics to provide:

  • Medical play, which helps children learn about various tests, procedures and surgeries and corrects any misconceptions children may have.
  • Distraction techniques to minimize the stress during an examination or procedure. These techniques can be as simple as blowing bubbles or having a favorite toy nearby, which make the hospital a little less scary and the procedure a little bit easier.
  • Expressive activities that encourage children to share their thoughts and feelings about their hospital experience.
  • Developmentally appropriate information and preparation about medical procedures.
  • Support for the child and family during medical procedures and examinations.

Art and recreational activities are offered in playrooms, as well as medical play, magic shows and holiday celebrations. Patients of all ages are welcome. If a child cannot come to a playroom because of activity restrictions or isolation precautions, a child life specialist can provide recreational and therapeutic activities at the bedside.

Hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. For more information, please call 203.688.2334.

Bridgeport Hospital campus

Child life specialists are also available at the Bridgeport campus. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, please call 203.384.3628

Arts for Healing

Arts for Healing, a Child Life Program, fosters self-expression, learning, community and enjoyment of the arts at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. The program benefits patients from birth to young adults and their families and is a welcome respite from medical concerns.

Through a unique multi-disciplinary approach to self-expression, the Arts for Healing team of professional artists, music and art therapists help build resilient children and families. Young people turn their imagination and everyday experiences into art, photography, video, music, rap, poetry and more during their hospital stay. The team inspires self-discovery and communication through art making in daily group activities and individual sessions with artists and creative therapists.

Programs include:

  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Neonatal music
  • Poetry and spoken word
  • Digital storytelling
  • Storytime

Arts for Healing is made possible solely through donations. Your support is essential to our work. Please consider making a contribution.


Interested in interning in the Child Life department at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital? Find out more.

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