Tips on Landing a Child Life Practicum

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As the child life profession grows we are facing some challenges with not having enough internship placements for the amount of students that apply. It is becoming incredibly competitive, but students are giving up their goal of becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist.

I’m excited to share our guest blogger today, Ashley Bain from Peace, Hope and Play who has some great tips on landing a child life practicum, which will hopefully advance your chances for an internship spot.

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Those in the child life field know that it is VERY competitive. One does their best to stand out amongst countless applicants. Many hours with healthy children, hospitalized children, unique experiences (Make-A-Wish, camps) and so on and so forth. But what else can one do to make themselves standout more during an internship process?

PRACTIUCM!

When looking into practicums two questions are frequently asked:

  1. How do you go about securing a practicum?
  2. What are the benefits of a practicum?  

First things first: don’t get overwhelmed when looking into practicums. Becoming overwhelmed causes unnecessary stress, unhealthy habits and a negative outlook on your current situation. Instead, do the following to make yourself less stressed and more organized:

  1. Make a list of the hospitals that you want to apply to (do this yourself! Don’t ask others for a list. Making your own list and doing your own research shows you what each hospital can offer and if it is truly a fit for YOU).
  2. Print each hospitals requirements out. This way you can mark off what you already have for each hospital.
  3. Remember to relax! You are doing the best you can.

Now onto the next step…

Requirements

 

  • Have volunteer hours with hospitalized children/under a Certified Child Life Specialist. Each hospital may have a different amount of hours that must be met. Try to get 100 hours if possible.
  • Have volunteer hours with healthy children (childcare, church, camps etc.). Again some hospitals may have a different amount of hours that must be met. Try to get 100 hours if possible.
  • Have a good GPA (minimum 3.0 on a 4.0 scale)
  • Recommendation letters (could vary for each hospital)
  • Be affiliated with a university (some hospitals could take unaffiliated students).
  • Have completed some courses in child life, child development or other related studies. This could also vary for each hospital.
  • Make sure you check and recheck the hospitals websites. Sometimes a hospital may change their mind at the last second and choose not to offer a practicum. It is better to find out beforehand instead of receiving an email after the fact.

What are the benefits of a practicum?  

  • Observing Certified Child Life Specialist first hand in different areas of the hospital (ER, Peds, PICU, Oncology etc.)
  • Taking away new knowledge on what the practicum student observes.
  • Students continue to increase their knowledge of basic child life skills related to play, developmental assessment, and mixing child life theory into interventions with infants, children, teens and families. While volunteering sheds a little light on Child Life and what this team’s role is within the hospital, a practicum sets the stage for future plans, expectations and for an internship.
  • Having this amazing opportunity shows the individual if they are in the proper field.
  • Networking with child life professionals and making those rapports with other staff members, patients and families.
  • Having the opportunity to observe how the value of play is utilized to help the hospitalized child.
  • Prepares the student for the next step—a child life internship!

I hope this was helpful and encouraging to each of you and I hope you become successful in the field known as child life.

One final reminder: When you are in a rough spot and you don’t know if you will ever get through the struggles of finding a practicum or internship remember why you started and remember that giving up is not an option. You can do it!

To learn more about Ashley, you can follow her blog at Peace, Hope and Play

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Related Articles:

Navigating the road to become a Certified Child Life Specialist: Tips & tricks from a child life student

The learning curve in a child life practicum

How to volunteer with child life

Working Moms: How to Prepare Dinner on a Limited Schedule

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Guest Blogger, Lizzie Weakley

One of the most common challenges for working moms is having the time to prepare dinner on a limited schedule. Many women find themselves rushing to the store and scrambling to put together a proper meal for their family while making a few mistakes along the way. To ensure that you can make a great dinner while on a time crunch, there are a few important tips to practice.

Prep the Food Ahead of Time

It takes a significant amount of time to peel the carrots or chop the onions when making a meal at night after you’ve spent a long day at the office. Save time by prepping the ingredients the night before or on the weekend to ensure that it’s ready to throw together and will still be fresh.

Purchase Pre-Made Ingredients

Instead of spending several minutes chopping up the garlic or boiling water to make hard boiled eggs, opt for purchasing ingredients that are already pre-made at a local grocery store. Opt for buying hard boiled eggs at the store or garlic that is already chopped to ensure that you can toss it in the pan and still make a home cooked meal.

Freeze Dinner in Advance

Take advantage of your free time on the weekend to make your dinners in advance and freeze the meals before they’re made on specific days of the week. You can make homemade lasagna or a casserole by preparing it in a dish and cooking it in the oven once you get home from work.

Use Easy Sides

You can make dinner in minutes by focusing your attention on the main dish and relying on sides that are already baked to complete the dinner. Opt for options like potato buns from a company like Klosterman Baking Company or a pre-made salad from your favorite restaurant in the area. This will make it easy to avoid cutting corners on the meal and making a main dish that is unforgettable.

It can be easy to feel limited with your schedule when it comes to preparing food for your family. Although it can be easy to get take-out, there are several options that are available to ensure that you can make a homemade meal that tastes delicious. With the right steps taken, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you family can enjoy a nutritious meal at the dinner table each night while spending more time together.

How To Efficiently Organize Your Home After A Move

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Guest Blogger, Meghan Belnap

Moving to a new location can be an exciting time. While it may be easy to plan out how you will handle the actual move, the execution of that plan can be a bit daunting once everything gets in motion.
Having a stress-free move largely depends on how organized you are. Having a thorough plan of approach when you arrive to your new location will allow for a smooth transition into your new living space. Here are some fool-proof ways to have an organized home after a move:

Choose Your Rooms

When you first arrive to your new home, take advantage of the empty rooms by deciding what purpose each room will serve. You can even make these decisions in advance of your arrival if you have the blueprints of your new home. Upon arrival, do a walk-through and place a sign (or post-it note) with the name of the room on the door or wall. Doing so will let everyone that is involved know where to put your belongings.

Organize Biggest Items First

Any heavy furniture items should be the first things that go into the home. Moving the cumbersome items is one of the hardest parts about moving. Getting it out of the way early on will make for easier work as you move the smaller, filler items into their designated rooms. Be sure that you have named your rooms beforehand to reduce the likelihood of having to relocate heavy furniture because it is in the wrong place.

Unpack Soon

The sooner that you begin to unpack your belongings, the better off you will be. Even if you’re tired, try to set a deadline to have your entire home unpacked in 7 days or less. Decorating will likely happen over a longer period of time. What is most important is clearing out any moving boxes that you have around.

Unpack Essentials First

Essential items are those that belong in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Out of those three, the bathroom items should be set-up as soon as possible after your arrival. Second is the kitchen. If you have a lot of kitchen utensils and accessories, remove the more functional items first so that they will be ready when you need them. The third most important is the bedroom. Be sure not to rush through the closet organization process. Take some time to plan the layout of your closet so that you will not have to redo it later on.

Get Everyone Involved

Whether you are moving with 1 person or 5 family members, everyone can help out in some kind of way. All family members (excluding babies and small toddlers) can help to unpack items and set up their bedrooms. Simple chores can be assigned to help everyone stay more organized.

Take Your Time

To efficiently organize your home, unpacking and setting up your belongings should take priority over almost everything else. Everything will go a lot faster when there are no pressing time commitments in your schedule. If you moved for a new job, give yourself at least a week before your first day of work to get your home in order. You’d be surprised how much you can get done by simply hiring a babysitter to watch your children for an afternoon.

Although it can be stressful to move your life into a new space, remember that it can also be an exciting time! Have fun as much as you can so that you will have fond memories to look back on. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed. The more people you can enlist to give you a hand, the quicker the process will be.