Chris Evert Children's Hospital
Child Life Program

Child Life Program

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Boost Your Teen Daughter's Body Image

Magazines, television, the "in-crowd" at school. Teen girls get messages from all over about how they're supposed to look. It's no wonder they often think they're too big, small, short, or tall.

As a parent, you can help your teen daughter like what she sees in the mirror. Work on building her self-esteem and she'll learn she's beautiful, inside and out. Here's how.

  • Help her realize why she's special. Every night before she goes to sleep, ask her to list 3 happy moments from the day. Give her ideas if she's stuck—that good soccer play, the math problem she solved, the funny joke she told.

  • Point her toward realistic goals in school, sports, and life. Setting the bar too high can lead to feelings of discouragement and failure. But, at the same time, encourage her to push herself toward achievable, if sometimes difficult, goals. She should feel challenged and that she's aiming for a higher purpose. We all need to feel we're great at something. Encourage her to pursue her passions.

  • Encourage exercise. Studies show active teens have a better body image regardless of their weight. Drive your daughter to practice, cheer her on during games, and model healthy physical activity yourself. Get dad involved, too. Fathers may have an especially important effect on their daughters' self-perception.

  • Eat together. Family meals lead to teens who are better adjusted and less likely to engage in risky behaviors. A bonus benefit? They'll also have a healthier diet.

  • Guide her toward places where she can belong. Help her get involved with friends, schoolmates, sports teams, or religious or neighborhood groups. Volunteering is a great way for kids to take on a meaningful or useful role—and realize there are more important qualities than outer beauty.

  • Be a self-confident family. This makes your teen feel good, too. Study your heritage, get involved in the community, and care for extended relatives. Praise each family member for his or her strengths.

Even in happy, supportive families, poor self-esteem can happen and it can lead to eating disorders, including anorexia or bulimia. Watch for warning signs, such as an unusual concern about weight, using medicines such as laxatives, or an obsession with calories. If you spot them, talk with your child's health care provider. 

Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events. Armed with a strong background in child development and family systems, child life specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization. Because they understand that a child’s wellbeing depends on the support of the family, child life specialists provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members. They also play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress.

The goals of the Child Life Program:

  • Providing developmentally appropriate play, creative arts opportunities that will encourage mastery, coping and the expression of feelings
  • Increase familiarity within the hospital surroundings, preparing children, teens and families for the medical experience
  • Develop supportive relationships with patients and family members
  • Bridge the gap between home and hospital by providing familiar activities (play, school, holiday parties and birthday parties, etc)

Top 10 Reasons to call a Child Life Specialist

What is a Child Life Specialist

Child Life Specialists have earned their bachelors or master’s degrees in Child Life, Child Development or a related field and are professionally certified by the Child Life Council. Through education and play, a child life specialist can help your child understand and cope with his/her hospitalization.

Services Provided

  • Promote patient and family centered care
  • Developmentally appropriate playroom and bedside activities
  • Therapeutic play, including medical play
  • Preparation for procedures, surgeries and tests
  • Sibling support and education
  • Oncology support groups in conjunction with Gilda’s Club South Florida
  • Bereavement support
  • Special events, birthday and holiday celebrations are scheduled throughout the year.
  • Preoperative Tour
  • Pet assisted therapy
  • Hospital tours for class visitations can be arranged by request
  • Parties & activities sponsored by community organizations

The Staff

The Child Life Staff consists of a Child Life Coordinator, Certified Child Life Specialists and a Music Therapist. The Child Life staff has a vast knowledge and years of experience in childhood growth and development, and the effects of hospitalization and illness on children of all ages.

Donations and Support

Gifts of toys for playroom use, infant toys, craft supplies, books, DVD's, video games, gift cards and the like are most welcome. Donations must be new and safe. If you are interested in reviewing our wish list, click here. If you are interested making a monetary donation or in supporting a specific program, call the Broward Health Foundation at 954-712-3980.

For more information about our Child Life Program please call our Child Life Coordinator at 954-355-4356.

The Child Life Student Programs:

Volunteering is an opportunity to gain familiarization with the hospital environment. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jenny Mackie, Patient Experience Manager at 954.759.7400.

The internship is specifically designed to help students meet the eligibility requirements set by the Child Life Council for child life certification. The internship will consist of 580 hours over a term of 13-15 weeks. The interns will be directly supervised by a Certified Child Life Specialist.

Candidates should be college seniors or graduate students with a background of child development or related fields.