Child Life Program

The Child Life Program at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children helps patients and families cope with medical treatment, diagnosis, and hospitalization through play, preparation, education, and self-expression.

Call to request a visit from a Child Life specialist or, if you need immediate assistance, ask your nurse to page us.

What We Do

When your child is anxious, you’re overwhelmed, or your other children don’t understand what’s happening, please contact us. If you’re unsure about something or need advice to get through a rough spot, we can help. If your child just needs a little distraction or another hand to hold, that’s exactly why we’re here. Child Life specialists can give your entire family:

Psychosocial support

Helping your child cope with an injury, diagnosis, or treatment by encouraging discussion, answering questions, and talking about feelings and concerns.


Pre-procedure/pre-operative support

Reducing your child’s fears and anxiety before a procedure or surgery by explaining what will happen and what to expect.


Support during a procedure

Reducing your child’s anxiety by providing distraction and non-medical
pain management.


Medical/therapeutic play

Helping your child understand and cope better by playing with pretend or real medical equipment and providing opportunities to share feelings, concerns,
and fears.


Pain and stress management

Easing physical, psychological, and emotional pain with relaxation strategies like guided imagery and deep breathing.


Creative stimulation/development

Using art, music, and play activities to promote your child’s growth,
maintain developmental milestones, and provide a creative outlet for dealing
with emotions.


Bereavement services

Offering comfort, support, and memorial activities for families in the event of a child’s death.

Our Child Life specialists are trained to understand the different ways children deal with the stress, fear, confusion, anger, guilt, and sadness – and help them develop coping strategies specific to their individual needs. We’re also here to provide information, support, and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members as needed.

Child Life Activity Center

Located on the third floor, across from the classrooms and around the corner from the Family Resource Center, the Child Life Activity Center is a fun place for patients and families to escape the chaos of the hospital. It’s a safe haven away from medical procedures, equipment, and exams, where specially trained Child Life technicians provide normal play activities.

Fun things to do include:
  • arts and crafts projects
  • playing the piano
  • story time
  • toys and games
  • reading
  • cooking
  • and much more
Hours

Monday - Friday:
10 a.m. - 7:45 p.m.

Weekends:
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Child Life Technicians
  • Sara Narimanian
  • JoAnn Tingle
  • Sam Eachus

Please note that adult supervision is required for patients’ siblings and visitors under 10 years old.


Child Life Activities

Kids of all ages want to explore, play, and laugh, no matter where they are – even the hospital. But in the hospital, kids’ choices are, of course, limited to what the doctors and nurses want them to do. That’s why we offer lots of fun Child Life programs and activities to keep all of the children we see, from tots to teens, uplifted and entertained during even the most difficult hospital stay.

 
Animal Assisted Activities
  • trained therapy dog visits
  • scheduled group visits in select patient units

The hospital is always abuzz when our furry, four-legged friends join us. The dogs provide a great distraction and comfort to our children and families.

How Animal-Assisted Activities Help

Our tail-wagging friends and their certified handlers have an important job to do — to bring smiles. In fact, it’s proven that animal-assisted activities are good to:

  • reduce stress
  • improve self-esteem
  • lower blood pressure
  • improve overall well-being
Find out more about the benefits of animal-assisted activities:

Contact Us
Alaina Norvell

(302) 298-7047
alaina.norvell@nemours.org

 
Community Entertainment Program

Birthdays and holidays are special times around here – and so are regular days of the week!

We’re thankful to have special community visitors join us to perform puppet shows, share arts and crafts, sing, dance, or just spend time with kids and families to help make their hospital stay a little more fun. Check with your Child Life specialist for a full list of events and activities planned during your child’s stay.


Join Us

Visit Child Life Activity Center — individually or as a group »

Be Part of Our Child Life Program

We welcome visitors and volunteers from our community to participate in our Child Life Program. Also, you can apply for our internship and practicum program for students interested in learning more about Child Life.

Community Entertainment Program

We always welcome groups and individuals to apply for our Community Entertainment Program, including college and high school groups, community organizations, youth groups, performers, athletes, and others.

 
Learn more about our Community Entertainment Program
If you’d like to visit, please consider the following guidelines:
  • all visitors must be free of infection
  • we can accommodate groups of up to 10 people
  • all visitors must be 16 years or older
  • our dress code prohibits shorts, tank tops, mini-skirts, or open-toed shoes
  • visitors must come with a planned activity with all
    necessary supplies

Internship and Practicum Programs

The Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children offers comprehensive Child Life internships and practicum programs open to college students and graduates during the fall and spring semesters.

Contact Us
Beth Carlough, CCLS

Internship Coordinator
(302) 651-4848
beth.carlough@nemours.org

 
Eligibility & Qualifications
To qualify for the Child Life intern/practicum program, applicants must have:
  • completed core curriculum classes or have a degree in Child Life, child development, or closely related field
  • experience working with children in group settings
  • completed at least 100 hours working with children in an established Child Life program in a health care setting
  • knowledge of the psychosocial issues related to illness
    and hospitalization

Programs are full-time and last 14 weeks. Generally, we accept applications for the fall semester in May, extend offers in June,
and begin the program in September. In spring, applications are
due in September, offers are extended in October, and we begin
in January.

 
Applications

For more information about this year’s Child Life internship opportunities and deadlines, please download the:


Volunteer Opportunties

Volunteers help the Child Life Program in so many ways.
Find Out How to Become a Hospital Volunteer »


Make a Gift or Donation

We’re thankful for our thoughtful and generous community, which provides us with a variety of toys, crafts, and activities for kids of all ages. We truly appreciate donations of new, unused toys and craft supplies, store-bought snacks, gently used books, and (age-appropriate) video games for popular gaming consoles.

Contact Us
Alaina Norvell

Donations Coordinator
(302) 298-7047
alaina.norvell@nemours.org

The Child Life Team

A Child Life specialist is a graduate of a bachelor’s or master’s program in education, human growth and development, psychology, or counseling, and certified through rigorous Child Life services training. We’re equipped to handle a child’s unique way of dealing with a traumatic experience like an illness or injury – and we can help you feel confident doing the same with your child.

Meet the Team

Beth Carlough, CCLS

Internship Supervisor
(302) 651-4848
beth.carlough@nemours.org

Jenn Jankowski, CCLS

Patient Units 3E and 3F Pulmonology and Gastroenterology
(302) 651-4307
jennifer.jankowski@nemours.org

Laura Mitchell, CCLS

(302) 651-4849
laura.mitchell@nemours.org

Bethany Polash

Bone Marrow Transplant and Solid Organ Transplant
Hematology/Oncology Clinic
(302) 651-4849
bethany.polash@nemours.org

Cathy Akins, CCLS

Patient Unit 3CN Hematology and Oncology
(302) 651-4307
catherine.akins@nemours.org

Debbie Palley, CCLS

Emergency Department
Practicum Placement Coordinator
(302) 651-4849
deborah.palley@nemours.org

Contact Us

Alaina Norvell

(302) 298-7047
alaina.norvell@nemours.org

Child Life Program

Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803


Hours

Inpatient Staff: Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Emergency Department: Monday - Thursday and Sunday: 1:30 - 8 p.m.