Child Life and Social Media; Presentation at the CLGNY conference

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Last week I presented at the Child Life of Greater New York conference and it was an amazing experience. I had always wanted to present and submitted my abstract last spring. I even conquered my anxiety with public speaking, it may sound weird to some, but it is true.

My topic was titled, Like, Tweet, Pin: Connecting Your Program Through Social Media. I have been inspired to present on this topic as I have seen the momentum that Child Life Mommy has created.

When I first started the blog, I thought I would have just around 100 followers, well that goal has been exceeded and continues to grow with 1,600 followers, globally.

I have been able to connect with child life specialists, prospective students, educators, parents, pediatric patients, healthcare workers, non-profit organizations and many more. I had no idea that social media could connect me to so many amazing people virtually.

I have had the opportunity to stand on many different soapboxes; Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, LinkedIn, and WordPress to bring awareness to the child life profession and how the skills can be utilized in a multitude of different settings.

When I first started blogging, I was taken back by the lack of child life programs on social media. I think that there is a lot of fear, intimidation and not knowing how to get administration on board, by following their guidelines of HIPPA (patient protection). I spoke about strategies to overcome these challenges.

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I touched on how social media will bring awareness to programs, as well as connect with potential donors. Many people do not know about child life specialists and that the majority of them are financially supported by donations and grants.

I also covered how it brings a sense of normalcy to pediatric patients and their families. Many of them connect with social media to share their story, provide updates in health status, bring awareness to an illness or prevention of an accident. Families and patients can continue to stay connected with their child life specialists through the program’s social media sites, which helps with professional boundaries.

I received a lot of great feedback from the presentation and I even connected with a few after through Twitter and Facebook.

My goal is to see more of us connect and support each other through social media. It is a great way to network, share resources and just bring overall awareness to the profession.

I am also incredibly happy to announce that I will be elaborating on this topic with two other colleagues at the national Child Life Council Conference in May. It will be a panel presentation, providing information on how the three of us come from very different child life settings and use social media as a platform for our practices.

I would love to hear your feedback on this topic.

Have you thought about using social media for your organization or program?

Do you want to collaborate on a topic?

Thoughts? Ideas?

 

 

How to Volunteer with Child Life

I am so excited to have collaborated with Caroline and Sydney, Certified Child Life Specialists at Connecting With Compassion. I wrote a guest blog post for them on How to Volunteer with Child Life. Click here to read about it.

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Also don’t forget to read their amazing tips on ways that Child Life Specialists play a vital role in the NICU

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Creating a Coping Kit for Kids

Child life specialists often use coping kits to help provide distraction with children going through medical procedures. The kits are often filled with a variety of toys and sensory items to ease anxiety, encourage deep breathing and provide normalcy with PLAY!

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A fun activity to do at home or with patients in the hospital is to have them create their own coping kit. Children can design a bag and then fill it with toys and comfort items. This is a great  way to help prepare your child for a doctor appointment. Children who have frequent visits to doctors and specialists can really benefit from a coping kit.

All you need is a canvas bag, ink stamps, stickers and paint.

While the kids are decorating their bag, you can begin to discuss what will happen at their checkup, what the bag can be used for and what items they want to put in it.

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DSC_0185Toys to pack in the coping kit:

  • Bubbles
  • Magic glitter wands
  • Squishy balls
  • Books- Look and Find or I-Spy
  • Blanket
  • Pacifier
  • Stuffed animal
  • Hand held game
  • iPad/headphones

Supporting children with cancer: The Cellie Cancer Coping Kit

DIY Glitter Wand

How to Pack a Children’s Emergency Go Bag