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Child Life

What is Child Life?

Being diagnosed with a new illness and coming to the hospital can be stressful for a family. The Child Life Program helps reduce that stress and anxiety as much as possible.

Nineteen full-time child life specialists work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Their goal is to help children cope with the challenges of health care and hospitalization. These services are offered to all families in all clinical areas.

Our child life specialists work closely with children and teens to provide age-appropriate explanations and preparations. The activities help patients and siblings better understand what is happening. Such interactions also build trust so that they know what to expect during this time of change.

Child life specialists create many opportunities for children to play and express themselves. These therapeutic activities promote patients’ and siblings’ development and enhance their coping skills. The activities also provide an outlet for feelings, peer interaction and a sense of mastery.

St. Jude child life specialists are nationally certified. They have bachelor's or master's degrees, with backgrounds in human growth and development, education, psychology or counseling.

To learn more about child life services at St. Jude, please call (901) 595-3020.