Currently one of my favorite resources to use with my pre-op patients is this surgery prep book from Katie Mense. It’s very kid friendly (non-threatening), easy to follow, and free to download! Download your copy by clicking the link below.
You may remember at the end of last year I enrolled in the Rainbow Kids Yoga teacher training ( see post here ). Let me start off by saying I am by no means an expert Yogi! I enrolled in this course not to deepen my practice or ditch child life to become a yoga teacher but rather to use the theory of yoga in my day to day as a CCLS. Fast forward 7 months after the Rainbow Kids Yoga training: it’s worth it!
I use the skills I learned with Rainbow Kids Yoga almost on a daily basis with my patients. So, what did I learn and how am I applying it to child life? For starters, it’s important to realize that yoga is more than just poses and flexibility. In fact, I don’t use yoga poses at all with my patients. What I do use is deep breathing exercises and guided imagery practices.
I have so much information and resources to share on this topic that I’ve decided to break up this post into 2 parts so stay tuned for more!
As a lover of free resources, I have set up a google drive where I’ve uploaded tons of freebies from teacherspayteachers.com on this subject. Click the link below to view:
Any wise 7-year-old will be quick to tell you that breathing is important – we have to do it to stay alive! And while this is quite true, our breath also has a big impact on our mind and how we cope with experiences. See this picture example of how our breath changes as we become stressed. This is where yoga comes into action! By teaching children different breathing exercises during times of stress/anxiety, they will be able to slow their breathing thus helping them cope, remain calm, and feel a sense of control.
There are TONS of kids breathing exercises you can find with a quick google search. For example one of my favorites is Snake Breath – take a big breath in and as you exhale make a “Sssss” sound as long as you can. Another favorite of mine is Lion Breath – take a big breath in and as you exhale stick out your tongue and make sure to make your meanest lion roar face. Find inspiration online or make up your own! I made up Bubble Breath – inhale and pretend you’re blowing one really really big bubble as you exhale // inhale and pretend you’re blowing out millions of really little bubbles as you exhale. For some little ones the concept of “inhale” and “exhale” may not be appropriate so change up your terminology to something like “smell the flowers, blow the leaves” or “smell the birthday cake, blow out the candles”.
In an effort provide a visual for the patients and to help me remember so many different breathing techniques, I created a laminated breathing cards with different clip art depicting the type of breath. Shout out to Gretchen Blackmer for the inspiration for these breathing cards http://www.everydaywarrioryoga.com/
Another great tool to use to show patients the effects of breath is to use a Hoberman Sphere.This is one of my favorite resources to help kids really understand how lungs open and close with each breath. Plus it’s an overall really cool toy and instant rapport builder in my opinion. I’ll guide my patients in doing the different breathing exercises with the Hoberman sphere so they can see the full effect.
Another great tool I’ve used to support my breathing exercises is the book “Breathe, Chill: A Handy Book of Games and Techniques Introduced Breathing, Meditation, and Relaxation to Kids and Teens” by Lisa Roberts. This book breaks down various types of breath and how/when/why to use them. After I purchased this book I read the testimonials on the back and saw one of them was written by a CCLS! Just goes to show how beneficial yoga practice can be in the field of Child Life. You can find this book here on Amazon.
I’ve had many kiddos that really enjoy doing these deep breathing practices before/during/after procedures. I even had a patient choose my breathing cards over my iPad for distraction during her first IV! Not only do these skills help them cope with the present situation, but they walk away with a new coping technique in their pocket for future use & that’s what child life is all about!
This month’s Favorite Find is a kickstarter campaign named Princessability that will create fairy tales where the leading roles are filled by princesses with a disability, cancer, or illness. Books will be available in English & in Spanish. Spread the word!
At the end of this month I will be spending the weekend volunteering at Camp Erin – a bereavement camp for children. This past weekend we had a pre-camp pizza party to meet all of the campers, their families, and help reduce some of that pre-camp anxiety that usually builds in the weeks before sleep-away camp. We had a lot of fun at our pizza party – we played games, got to know each other, had pizza (of course), and sang songs while the veteran volunteers spoke to the parents/caregivers about specifics about camp. When speaking to one of the 6-year-old girls in my group, she told me all about this Elmo video she watched that “explained about when people die and that it’s okay to cry”. This Elmo grief video rang a bell, but I decided to do some more research when I got home. Turns out, Sesame Street offers their resources for free to download online, in English and Spanish! This is such an incredible resource to know about when dealing with bereavement and grief with children. Thank you, chatty little 6-year-old!
Elmo Grief Resources: http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/tlc/griefresources
Image Source: http://www.sesamestreet.org/muppets/elmo
Hello Child Life-ers!
If you know me you know I’m a sucker for freebies, which is why this month’s favorite find are these adorable nursing coloring books by Johnson & Johnson!
If you’re interested in these, you can find them at http://www.discovernursing.com/resources/free-materials#no-filters (on the 2nd page). You’re able to order 25 at a time & have them shipped to your hospital. They make a great give away for any department & your nurses will LOVE them!
Things have been so hectic this past week since coming back from conference! Luckily I had some time this morning to enjoy my coffee & take notes on my new book: “prescription for success: supporting children with autism spectrum disorder in the medical environment” by Jill Hudson. If time is kind to me, I hope to soon be able to write a review and let you all know how it is! Stay tuned, child life-ers!
Being that I work in the emergency room I am constantly prepping little ones to go get an X-Ray done. Luckily, my amazing co-worker, Caroline, shared one of her X-Ray prepping techniques with me!
The book Cooper Gets An X-Ray is great because it shows colorful, child friendly pictures of what an X-Ray machine looks like, explains that the machine can be moved around, shows examples of the “heavy vests” one might wear, sounds you may hear, and it also shows that a light may shine on them when taking the picture.
I also use that little camera to explain to my concrete-thinkers that if we were to take a picture of them with that camera we would only be able to see the outside of their bodies – to be able to see the inside, we need to use the X-Ray camera.
Cooper Gets an X-Ray by Karen Olson http://www.amazon.com/dp/0939838850/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_XeCmtb1EGE4GF
Currently reading: Psychosocial Care of Children In Hospitals : a clinical practice manual from the ACCH child life research project
I was at a used book store the other day and found this little gem! “A mom of many hats” is a story from the point of view of a little girl whose mother gets diagnosed with cancer. The story explores the ways she and her brother coped with their mothers diagnosis and how they were able to help. It really is beautifully written and illustrated and ends with a smile.
I was able to find it on Amazon.com if any of you are interested 🙂
While searching around Georgetown University Hospital’s Child Life resources page, I found this awesome list of books that may be helpful to children dealing with hospitalization. Check it out!
Helpful Books about Hospitalization
A book is a great way to start explaining different things your child may see in a hospital. These are some recommendations.
- A Hospital Story: An Open Family Book for Parents and Children Together By Sara Bonnett Stein (Walker and Co., 1983)
- A Visit to the Sesame Street Hospital By Deborah Hautzig (Random House, 1985)
- At the Hospital By Amy Moses (Child’s World, 1997)
- Barney and Baby Bop Go to the Doctor By Margie Larsen, Dennis Full (Scholastic)
- Coping with a Hospital Stay By Sharon Carter and Judy Monnig (Rosen Publishing Group, 1987)
- Curious George Goes to the Hospital By Anne Civardi (EDC Publishing, 1994)
- Going to the Hospital By Fred Rogers (GP/Putnam’s Sons, 1988)
- Let’s Talk About Going to the Hospital By Marianne Johnson (Powerkids Press, 1998)
- The Hospital Scares Me By Paula Hogan and Kirk Hogan (Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 1990)
- This is a Hospital, Not a Zoo By R. Karim (Truesdell Services, 1998)
- When Molly was in the Hospital: A Book for Brothers and Sisters of Hospitalized Children By Debbie Duncan (Rayve Productions, 1994)
- Why am I going to the Hospital By Claire Ciliotta and Carole Livingston (Lyle Stuart Inc., 1981)
Image Source: Amazon.com