Thanks For Helping Me Exceed My Goals

When I first set out to create a blog, my goal was to have 100 friends follow my posts. I had no idea that what I started to build would have a ripple effect.

I now have close to 1,200 followers and receive weekly emails from people all over the U.S. and world. Crazy, right?

Dr. Angela Mackenzie is a pediatrician and pain specialist in Australia, who contacted me last fall on gathering more information on therapeutic positions and medical play. I was happy to share my knowledge about the interventions and the practice of child life.

She, too was in the middle of writing a book, so we passed on encouragement to one another on our journey through that process.

She has recently published her book, entitled Everybody Stay Calm: How to support your young child through medical tests and procedures. I have a copy and have to say it is a beautiful book, that is incredibly well written. This should be added to the libraries of any parent, caregiver, teacher or medical team member working with children.

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Dr. Angela Mackenzie took our conversations even a step further and referenced me in her book. How awesome is that? I feel so rewarded knowing that what I am doing is making a difference.

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The blog has opened up many doors for me and is always making me set my goals for life a little higher.

So, thank you to all that support Child Life Mommy! I appreciate hearing  that the tips I give are working and helpful! Keep sharing with your friends, family and coworkers! There will be more workshops in the future along with stepping out into the private practice.

To learn more about Dr. Angela Mackenzie, you can check out her site at EverybodyStayCalm.com

To order your copy of Everybody Stay Calm, click here

 

Five Tips a Child Life Specialist Teaches at a Preschool Visit

 

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It is community leader week at my son’s preschool and I was asked to come in and talk about being a child life specialist. I was very excited to visit the kids and also to see how they all act behind the classroom door. My son, in particular is a very energetic, talkative five year-old, so I had to lay some ground rules down before I even entered the room. I have to say, I was quite impressed.

The kids sat in their circle and were excited to see what I brought in my big bag. As I pulled out the giant stuffed monkey, doctor kit and a children’s book, big smiles came across their face along with hands in the air and shout outs of having something similar like that at home.

I spoke about my role and the importance of going to a wellness visit. We went through all the components of a checkup and incorporated parts of the preparation book, along with medical play on Mr. Monkey.

Of course all the kids focus on the shot, so I wanted to leave them with useful information that they could quickly retrieve for the future.

  1. Therapeutic Position– They have a choice in the way they sit during for the procedure. Mr. Monkey did a great job demonstrating.
  2. Deep Breathing– I animated Mr. Monkey crying, jumping and trying to get away from the dreadful shot. The kids began to give their advice on helping him through it, suggesting taking deep breaths. We practiced as a group and used a pinwheel to help calm our bodies and Mr. Monkey’s.
  3. Distraction– They can choose different ways to distract their mind. Counting, deep breathing, watching, looking away or thinking of something else. The kids were great at offering ideas.
  4. Bandage Choice- They can choose to bring their own character bandage or pick what the doctor has to offer. This will give them some control in choice making.
  5. It’s Okay to Cry– I hate when people say, “Big kids don’t cry” this is false and can make children feel even more ashamed and vulnerable. I clearly explained that crying is accepted and way to let people know how you are feeling.

As I began to wrap up, the kids shared all of their scar stories of getting stitches, breaking bones and getting a shot. They were so adorable!

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They were all left with goodie bags that included my children’s book, It’s Time For Your Checkup: What To Expect When Going To a Doctor Visita pinwheel and colored bandages!

Have you thought about having a child life specialist visit your child’s school?

 

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How to pack a Go Bag for those unexpected ED visits

If you have kids or you take care of kids, than you already know that at some point in their lives you will more than likely end up in the emergency department. It is bound to happen. Kids are more prone to injury and accidents and they can become very sick when your pediatrician’s office is closed.

So what can we do as parents and caregivers to be ready for this?

Pack a Go Bag.

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The bag should have stuff that would help make the experience at the emergency department a little less stressful.

This is a bag that can be left in your car or in a closet at home.

Items for the Go Bag:

  • Extra Clothes for Baby/Child- Sweats, pajamas, socks, underwear, diapers (anything that will be comfy).
  • Extra Clothes for Parents- T-Shirt or Sweats (Having a shirt full of blood or vomit isn’t too comfortable).
  • Blanket, stuffed animal, pacifier- something that is soft to cuddle up with or to help self soothe
  • Current Medical Record- Your pediatrician can print out your child’s vaccinations, height/weight, allergies and current medications.
  • Current Insurance Information
  • Extra cell phone charger
  • Note pad and pen- great to write down questions, concerns and information from the medical team.
  • Snacks-crackers, granola bars, juice box, baby food (anything that will help fill some empty tummies during a long wait)
  • Single dollar bills or quarters for vending machines
  • Coloring book, crayons and stickers
  • Look and Find Book or I-Spy Book
  • Reading Books
  • Baby Toys- teething toys, soft plush toys, small toys that light up or make noise
  • Bubbles
  • Deck of cards
  • Small rubber ball or squishy toy that kids can squeeze (this can help during an IV insertion or blood draw)
  • Small action figures, cars, dolls- just small enough to pack up

Emergency Go Bag

It doesn’t take long to pack a Go Bag and trust me you will be thanking yourself for doing it. Who really wants to run around the house with a screaming child while you are trying to grab the necessities and get out the door? Not me. It is just one less stress and concern to think about.