Child Life Department

(405) 271-4870

Hospitalization and illness are stressful. Our Child Life specialists help promote development and to minimize the stress of hospitalization for families. Child Life specialists help your child cope and adjust in circumstances that might otherwise be overwhelming in order to promote a positive healing and learning experience for your child. With the largest Child Life program in Oklahoma, The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center is dedicated to the healing of the whole child and focused on the physical and psychosocial well-being of our patients.  

Services Provided by Child Life

  • Explaining medical procedures in language your child can understand. 
  • Promoting relaxation, distraction and coping skills before, during and after medical procedures or surgeries.
  • For long-term illness, injury and/or death, helping with coping skills education to help through the difficult times
  • Emotional support for patients, families and siblings during stressful experiences. 
  • Therapeutic play to help your child express emotion, resolve distress and facilitate coping during hospitalization. 
  • Providing opportunities for play in The Zone and other activity areas and/or at your child's bedside.
  • Educating parents and caregivers about child development and response to hospitalization.
  • Normalizing the hospital environment through coordination of community events, parties and seasonal celebrations designed for patients and families.

Hospital Orientation for Children

In order to lessen your child's anxiety prior to hospitalization, Child Life has free educational sessions to prepare children and families. This includes a tour of areas where they might be during their stay, age-appropriate explanations of medical events and therapeutic/medical play for hands-on learning.

Child Life specialists are assigned to most patient care areas. Parents/caregivers should ask their nurse or physician for referral to a Child Life specialist.

To schedule a session with a Child Life specialist please call the Child Life Department at (405) 271-4870.

Preparation for Surgery 

Child Life specialists can help prepare your family and child for what to expect the day of surgery. Explaining information about a surgery in an age-appropriate and easy-to-understand way prior to surgery reduces fear and anxiety about surgery.  Use our quick video to guide you through the surgery preparation process on the outpatient surgery page.  To schedule a pre-surgical tour please call (405) 271-4870 ext. 2.


The Zone


Watch this video of the Oklahoma City Thunder during a recent visit to patients and families in The Zone.

The Zone is amazing! 

The Zone is a community-funded 6,000-square-foot play-and-learning haven where patients and siblings can play, explore, learn, socialize and forget their worries. Located on the sixth floor, the Zone is staffed by Child Life specialists trained in meeting the psychosocial needs of children in health care settings. The Zone provides a place for these specialists to work with the children on development activities and provide social and emotional support that the children and their families need.

There are video games, books, musical equipment and a host of resource material available for children and parents. 

Click here for more information about the Zone.

Thank you to Garth Brooks & Troy Aikman's Teammates for Kids Foundation, the Bob Moore family, Junior League of Oklahoma City and all who make The Zone and its programs possible! Learn more about the Child Life Zone Network by visiting the Teammates for Kids Foundation website. We are also truly thankful to The Children's Hospital Volunteers, our 501(c)(3) partner organization that provides amazing volunteers in The Zone.

How You Can Help

Our patients and families benefit greatly when community groups and individuals give time, energy and creativity to support The Children's Hospital.  If you are interested in dedicating time to volunteer or would like to find ways to support the Child Life department through events, activities or patient projects, please visit our Children's Hospital Volunteer page or Support Children's Page. 



Student programs, practicums, fellowships and Child Life 101

Many educational programs are provided by our team of Child Life specialists who each hold bachelor's and/or master's degree(s) in child development, psychology or related areas, and are certified by the national Child Life Council.

If you're a current student wanting to become a Child Life specialist, or if you're interested in learning more about our fellowship and student programs, click here

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