Sanford Health celebrates Child Life Month

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 4:52 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Child Life Specialists help children through hospital stays. They do a lot for kids and their family members.

At Sanford Health’s pediatric wing, child life specialists are spreading joy to kids who are hospitalized. Parents say these specialists are the unsung heroes of the hospital.

“Child life specialists help kids cope with the trauma that hospitals can bring. Hospitals can kind of be a scary place for kids, so we just kind of break everything down into their terms and ways they can understand,” said Kerry Cosman, certified child life specialist at Sanford Health.

Aside from helping children understand the hospital setting, child life specialists play games, color, and make kids’ stay a little more pleasant. Lily has been staying in the hospital for a few days and her mother, Stephanie House, says that the experience with the child life specialists has been amazing.

“They come in and ask her every day, ‘Do you need anything? Do you want to play?’ They gave her puzzles. They just try to lighten the situation and make it really special for her,” said House.

Throughout their day, the child life specialists will complete rounds. This is when they touch base with patients and their families to see if there is anything they need.

“It could range anywhere from starting off on the pediatric floor and helping a kid prepare for an MRI or helping with an oncology patient over at the clinic with chemotherapy or port access,” said Cosman.

Parents say the personal touches that are left in rooms by the child life specialists are overwhelming. They are truly making each child feel special and acknowledged.

“Parents, don’t be scared to talk to them. If you need help, or your child is down and you don’t know how to get their spirits up, or you don’t know how to explain procedures that are going on, they are equipped to help children understand better,” said House.

Sanford says child life specialists are always available to help kids and parents through their stays at the hospital.

The hope for the child life specialists at Sanford is to make a positive impact on every pediatric patient that comes through the hospital.