Potential Career Change into the Field of Child Life

Last week to celebrate Child Life Month

Potential Career Change into the field of Child Life

Guest Blog post from Valerie Buckle


The reason I want to be a CLS is that I enjoy helping children feel accomplished! I am really good at facilitating play, and helping children do what they need to do. I understand their sense of urgency and just want to be supportive as they go through their daily lives. I don’t consider death “the end.” I consider “living life to its fullest” is all that matters

I am considering taking an early retirement from my military position as a Child Development Training Specialist. I have a BS in Child Development and many years of developmentally appropriate experience both personally and professionally. Some of my work has been volunteering with children in hospitals, but most of it is with healthy children of all ages.

Ever since college I have been drawn towards working with children in hospitals. (I did research about the work of Elizabeth Kubler Ross). Now my own children are grown and I feel like I am emotionally ready to take a job that might leave me feeling less than happy when I am done with my shift. I feel the need to do this work even though it is going to be emotionally difficult. This time I really am going to work with children and families in hospital settings.

Retiring from my government job and starting over may be financially irresponsible! I am not expecting to be able to earn as much working as a CLS as I do as a Government Trainer. I will be giving up a great deal even though I may not be able to get a full-time paid position as a CLS due to very few positions being available.

What I have decided to do is read everything I can about the CLS work and to volunteer. For the past 8 years I have volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House. That has taught me more about a parent’s perspective going through life threatening illness with their children.

I recently have committed to 6 months of volunteering at the playroom in the children’s hospital. Hopefully this will answer many of the questions I have about my decision to retire early and become a CLS.

If you have  a story that you would like to share about finding the field, working with a child life specialist or how your program is celebrating this month, please click here

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