A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says free and unstructured play is healthy and – in fact – essential for helping children reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones – as well as helping them manage stress and become resilient.
As a Child Life Therapist at Randall Children’s Hospital, I know and see the effects of hospitalization on the development of children. I also see the vital role that play has in the healing of a child. Play’s therapeutic properties are essential to providing what a child needs to fight life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses.
Every month my patients, families and staff look forward to a visit from Chelsea’s Closet. To see kids put down the burden of IV poles and hospital procedures and pick up the joy and smiles they get from a new costume and craft is heart-warming and heart-healing.
The Randall staff looks forward to a visit from CHF every month. Just the presence of CHF volunteers walking around the halls with their crazy hats and bright red t-shirts lightens the mood and load of their day. With tears in their eyes, parents have told me that when their child received the new dress-up costume, it was one of the first times since being hospitalized that they saw a smile on their child’s face.
Chelsea’s Closet has made such an impact at RCH that the hospital has asked them to increase their visits from once a month to two. Witnessing the benefits of Chelsea’s Closet at the hospital impressed me so much I felt I needed to be more involved in this great program. I have been a proud board member of CHF for about two years.
Please consider getting involved in this great program and help CHF bring more smiles and happiness to kids and families who truly need it. Let your inner fairy princess, super hero, or pirate bring the healing and the magic that the Chelsea Hicks Foundation offers.
Written by Traci Brown
Board Member & Child Life Specialist at Randall Children’s Hospital