by Michelle Meschini, Certified Child Life Specialist, Beaumont Children’s Hospital
With exciting festivities and brightly colored displays seemingly all over the place this time of year, spending time in the hospital can be especially difficult for many children. As a Certified Child Life Specialist here at Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak, my mission is to make the holidays more fun and more comfortable for our patients and their families.
One way we accomplish this is by hosting several special Child Life events. Our goal is to “de-hospitalize” the environment and help kids be kids by participating in the things they normally would be doing if they weren’t in the hospital.
For example, we recently held a wreath decorating event hosted by Excel Spa. The kids had an excellent time and came up with some really creative and beautiful holiday works of art.
The next day, we hosted our annual Child Life holiday party, which many of our patients and their families attended. Patients had the opportunity to have their faces painted, play games, make a holiday decoration and enjoy refreshments. And of course they got to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. We’re hearing Santa had such a good time during his visit that he just might be stopping by again before Christmas!
Other special events we’ve offered for our patients and families include Polar Express Movie Night in our Children’s Miracle Network Garden, hosted by Ryan Rocks Outdoors Adventures. We also organized the Santa Shop, sponsored by Allie’s Angels, where patients could “shop” in the garden for gifts for family members.
We don’t just work with our patients during the holidays. My colleagues and I are trained to help minimize the stress, anxiety and fear children experience any time they are here. We help children cope more effectively through developmentally appropriate play, support and education. We also help train other Beaumont Children’s Hospital staff members to make our patients’ environment even more comfortable.