Bastian Adventure Series: Spotlight and Giveaway

I am so excited to kick off his week with a guest spotlight on Sofie Berga and her amazing resource for kids. I met Sofie at the Child Life Council Conference and was delighted to see her products in the exhibit hall. She is the author and creator of Bastian Adventure books, a series to help children prepare and cope with medical procedures. We obviously had a lot in common and I wanted to share her passion in helping others with you.

Meet Sofie

sofie-author

Sofie Berga is a pediatric registered nurse, a skilled author, creative thinker and mother of two. She has 16 years of hospital experience working with children during diagnosis, treatment and in critical care.

Sofie was born and educated in Copenhagen, Denmark where she lived the first 26 years of her life. She graduated with a bachelors in nursing from Denmark in 1996 and has since become a Certified Pediatric Nurse.

As a mother of two and coming from the land of H.C. Andersen, Sofie is familiar with the imaginary world of children and loves involving them in the treatment process. She currently lives in California with her 2 kids, Sebastian and Natalia.

In 2000, Sofie started a labor of love with her Bastian Adventure books, named after her son Sebastian. The initial inspiration came after taking her son to a simple chest x-ray when he was 2 years old. “He was strapped down with leather belts to his arms and sandbags to his legs, arching and screaming, all because he didn’t know what was happening.”

Medical procedures such as IVs and x-rays can be quite traumatic for small children, and a story book is the perfect tool for parents to bond with and prepare their 2-8 year old child for upcoming procedures. Just as adults receive preparatory materials for procedures, so should children.

It is my intention to do my best to decrease anxiety and stress in the medical setting. These books were developed for all medical professionals and parents to use, especially when we cannot get the help of a child life specialist.

Bastian's Collage

The Bastian Adventure Series has become well known and used within several Children’s Hospitals and just recently the series won the Mom’s Choice Award for being among the best in family centered products and services.

The story format allows for the books to be used in preparation, as a therapeutic communication tool after the procedures or to read with siblings. They are as true to reality as possible and include a parent advice page with tips to parents on how to best help their child or how the procedure might be different in their case.

“I have found that having the parents read the book while calming and bonding with their child, it lessens the anxiety in both parent and child, gives parents a tool to help their child and makes the procedures less traumatic for all involved.” – Sofie Berga

Sofie now has 5 books published covering topics on preparation of an IV, x-ray, CT scan, cast and surgery. They are available as e-books for the Nook, iPad and Kindle. Four of them can also be purchased in print on her publishing website or Amazon.

Contact Sofie to learn more and be sure to follow Bastian Adventure Series on Facebook

BastianAdventreGiveaway

We will be giving away a bundle package of Bastian Adventure books to one lucky winner.

Choose one or more ways to enter:

1. Sign up for email notifications at ChildLifeMommy.com and leave comment below

2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy and leave a comment on post

3. Facebook: Follow Bastian Adventure Series and leave a comment about the giveaway

4. Twitter: Follow, Like and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy

5. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy, Like and tag a friend in the post

Good Luck! Winner will be chosen 7/2/15

How to pack a children’s emergency go bag

If 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?

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Pack a Go Bag

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.

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Learning Through Medical Play

medical play elmo logo

Play is the universal language for kids. They learn about their world, relationships with others and use it to process their experiences. It is a way for them to resolve inner-conflict, build self-confidence and problem solve.

Helping a child prepare for a new experience, such as a doctor visit, can also be done through play. Teachers, parents and child life specialists can introduce the topic by reading them a story. It’s Time For Your Checkup: What To Expect When Going to a Doctor Visit is an excellent book that provides preparation along with strategies for coping, distraction, advocacy, therapeutic positions and medical play.

While reading the story, children may be able to remember past medical experiences and identify with the feelings that occurred. They may verbalize these feelings or chose not to share them. The book also encourages children to make choices, which will help empower them for future doctor visits.

book cover

After reading the story, offer the children a time to explore with medical play. The doctor kits should be filled with both real and pretend materials. Some of the best materials are loose parts where children can create and use it the way they choose.

Here are some examples of what to include:

  • Teddy Bear/Doll
  • Bandages/Gauze/Cotton Balls
  • Rubber Bands/String
  • Syringes/Medicine Cups
  • Alcohol Wipes/Gloves
  • Tape/Tubing

This is a great time to observe a child and allow them to become familiar with the materials. They may play out what they read in the story, what they have experienced or just explore.

Letting the child lead the play sessions is key. They will begin to have a sense of control and gain mastery in how to use the materials. They get to choose what roles they want to play (doctor, patient, parent) and how to act out the scene. Feelings may be expressed during this time and it is important to validate and normalize them. Children may ask questions and offer information of what they think the materials are used for and why.

medical play child life mommy

During the exploratory medical play session, you may be able to pick up on any misconceptions that a child may have. Those can be clarified and addressed when you then switch the gears from exploratory medical play to directive medical play.

Directive medical play will now have you participate as an educator to help the child understand what they will exactly encounter. Teaching them by using the five senses will help them process the information better.

prep on doll logog

Break down each step, as the book does, and let them play it out on the teddy bear/doll. This is a great time to practice coping and distraction strategies. “Does the bear want to sit on their parent’s lap or sit by themselves?” “Does the bear want to blow bubbles or count to ten?”

Remember to be honest with children to establish the trust and continue to validate their feelings. Offering a medical play session after a doctor visit is just as powerful as preparing them. They will continue to process their experience and release any feelings or struggles that they felt.

Get your copy of It’s Time For Your Checkup: What To Expect at a Doctor Visit, today. It’s available in both paperback and digital format.

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