Hooray, March is here and so is child life month! There will be lots of amazing featured posts and giveaways, so be sure to sign up for email notifications and follow on social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.
I am over the moon to feature an extraordinary Certified Child Life Specialist on the blog today. Katie Taylor, has taken her passion of working with parents and children from the hospital walls to the radio waves. She is empowering them to share their stories and connect with other families.
Guest Blogger, Katie Taylor founder of Child Life on Call
I was kneeling down next to a new mother in a dark pediatric intensive care room. The only light was from the sun peeking through the curtains and the monitor from the three IV pumps connected to her 3-week-old daughter. While I introduced child life services and education on ways to continue bonding with her newborn, despite their abrupt and emergent hospitalization, she said something powerful.
With tears in her eyes, she looked right at me and said, “I feel like I’m the only one in the world feeling this way. I feel so alone. So helpless. Tell me someone else has been through this before.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Her words lit a deep fire within me to do something more; Child Life On Call podcast was born.
I’m a huge podcast fan. Listening to them takes me to another world. Whether I’m laughing or learning something new, I leave my commutes feeling a sense of renewal. What was missing in the podcast world, I discovered, was a community for parents who feel the overwhelming emotions associated with having a child who has an illness or medical condition.
I don’t have a voice for radio, I didn’t have any of the equipment (not even a desktop computer), and I had absolutely NO clue about how to start a podcast, but I wanted to create a resource for parents and I felt podcasting was the way to do it. Parents could plug in their earbuds as their child slept in the hospital bed next to them and be transported to a community of stories and support. I had to make this happen.
One year later, the Child Life On Call podcast was published. Although the quality isn’t great and the technical errors have given me sleepless nights, the mission has been steadfast. The podcast features stories from parents of children with an illness or medical condition.
In Season 1, parents courageously describes personal and emotional experiences associated with having a child who has been through medical experiences. Season 2 will feature more stories from parents and from child life specialists currently working in the field.
My hope is that this continues to be a resource for parents as they sit in the loneliness that is hard to avoid when you have an ill child. My hope is that child life students recognize the weight of the vulnerability shared by these parents and the honor we have as child life specialists to support families. My hope is that this grows into a community that truly does support parents and families experiencing hospitalizations and illness.
Guest Blogger, Kara Masterson
Many children are scared of the dentist. It is a common issue that you should try to help your kid overcome. The following are four tips that might help you and your children.
Starts with You
One of the first things you have to remember is that dental anxiety affects more than just kids. Children are really good at picking up any anxiety coming from parents, so it is vital that you deal with your own anxiety first. You can talk to your dentist beforehand, or have your child visit the dentist with a family member who does not fear the dentist to avoid passing on this fear to your kid.
A Peaceful Scent
Some people may not love the scent of lavender, but it could work wonders for your child. It seems that the natural scent of lavender induces a relaxing feeling within the mind. This has been shown to be powerful enough to reduce some of the symptoms associated with dental anxiety. You can make your own lavender fragrance using an essential oil, or purchase one through an online vendor. Make sure that it is natural lavender to ensure these effects.
Meet and Greet
Next thing you want to try is to have your child meet your dentist ahead of time. Talk to your dentist beforehand to make sure that he or she is aware of your child’s anxiety. A dentist like A-Dental Center or someone similar will likely go over some of the procedures and help your child become familiar with the dentist’s office. One of the reasons some children feel anxious is because they are in unfamiliar territory, which is why this type of meeting is helpful at times.
Bring a Distraction
Sometimes, the best way to deal with the particular problem is to bring a distraction, or find a way to help your child distract him or herself during the visit. You can do this by bringing your child’s favorite toy along or giving your kid a smart device to entertain him or herself. You can also try to train your child to imagine a happy place, which should help him or her deal with scary things a little better.
Hopefully, some of these tips help your kid overcome his or her fear. Keep in mind that fears are not always cured but rather dealt with, so do not expect miracles. Make sure to work with your dentist because he or she will likely know a thing or two about dental anxiety.