Child Life specialists facilitate coping and use a variety of interventions to support the emotional needs of hospitalized children, as well as their siblings. Child Life specialists prepare children for medical procedures in an age-appropriate way and provide children with coping strategies throughout painful, invasive or difficult situations. They work to promote child development and provide opportunities for therapeutic play, socialization, mastery, and normalcy in a physically and emotionally safe environment.

Child Life specialists:

  • Assess children’s understanding of their hospitalization, illness, treatment or procedure
  • Offer medical education, preparation and support to children undergoing tests, surgeries, and other medical procedures using coping skills, distraction or guided imagery
  • Encourage children’s growth and development by incorporating play and age-appropriate activities
  • Provide means of diversion, expression, and healing through art, music, pet therapy and other programs
  • Assist brothers and sisters who are coping with their sibling’s illness or hospitalization
  • Help families deal with death and grief

Contact Child Life staff weekdays at 860.545.9700 or call 860.545.9000 evenings, weekends and holidays.


Connecticut Children’s ArtReach program supports the healing and wellness of our pediatric patients and their families through art and music. Using the creative process to enhance physical and emotional well-being, our creative and expressive activities reach more than 50,000 patients and families each year.

While participating in art, music and movement activities, patients and their families are able to reduce stress, feel a sense of empowerment, and increase self-esteem.

Programs include:

  • Art
  • Music
  • Virtual programs
  • Visiting Artist Program

To learn more about the ArtReach program, please call 860.545.9700.

Get Involved

Connecticut Children’s recognizes that art, music, movement, social interaction and laughter can be part of the healing process. Learn more by volunteering or giving a gift to support ArtReach.

Pre-operative Preparation

Many children who are scheduled for a routine surgery have lots of questions and don’t know what to expect on the big day. Anxiety is common in both the patient and parents, which is why we’re happy to offer pre-operative preparation!

What you should know

  • One of our Child Life Specialists will explain the whole surgery process using language your child will understand
  • Using pictures is a great way to familiarize your child with our operating rooms and medical equipment such as a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope and surgical mask

To speak to a child life specialist about preparing your child for surgery, please call 860.545.9700.


We recommend the following resources to help patients and families prepare for surgery at Connecticut Children’s:

Internship and Practicum Opportunities

Child Life offers internships in the Fall and Spring semesters and practicum experiences in the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters for those pursuing child life as a career. Please note that we do not offer a summer internship. Click on the links below for more information.

If you have further questions, please email us:

childlifepracticum [at] (Submit a Child Life Practicum question)
childlifeinternship [at] (Submit a Child Life Internship question)