Play is a valuable tool for coping with stressful situations and it is the basis for learning. The playrooms at the Montreal Children’s Hospital offer children and their families a safe and creative atmosphere where children have the opportunity to engage in therapeutic play and recreational activities with their peers.
The Child Life cooking program is designed to facilitate the continuation of normal living patterns and to promote heightened self-esteem. This activity can be used as a tool for the reduction of stress associated with hospitalization and to enhance individual patient treatment goals. This activity encourages social connections and interactions, and is open to all.
Therapy dogs do what animals do best: they offer unconditional love and friendship. The Montreal Children’s Hospital Pet Therapy Program provides children with an opportunity for social interaction, stress reduction and sensory stimulation. Like some of the other Child Life programs, pet therapy provides a way to normalize the environment and reduce the stress that can be associated with hospitalization.
Please note: Both physician and parental consent are required for patients to participate in this program.
Parent Coffee Hours
Child Life specialists help facilitate the Parent Coffee Hour, an activity that is in keeping with the hospital’s family-centred care approach. The goal is to create an inviting and relaxed environment where parents can enjoy a cup of coffee and freshly-baked cookies. Some families take the opportunity to share and exchange stories and encourage one another, while others may benefit from having a little time to themselves.
Snoezelen is a sensory stimulation program that promotes mental alertness, calm and comfort. In a non-directed but guided way, patients can explore and experience the soft, soothing lights and functions. Patients experience deep relaxation and are able to relieve tension, anxiety and pain.
Bravery Heart Beads program
The Bravery Beads program is designed to document, honour and recount the journey that children and youth take when they are diagnosed with a chronic illness. It provides children with the ongoing opportunity to tell their story of courage using colorful beads as significant and meaningful symbols of the various challenges that they face.
Special events and celebrations
Child Life specialists support the continuity of essential life experiences by encouraging participation in the celebration of holidays, seasonal parties and special days for individual patients, which can help change a child’s perception of their healthcare experience. The Child Life specialists always take into consideration a patient’s and family’s cultural heritage when suggesting activities.
Upon referral, a Child Life specialist certified in infant massage instruction can meet with a parent and their baby to teach infant massage. This approach promotes the use of positive touch and encourages the bonds between parent and child.