Child Life Council
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Child Life Poem

What is Child Life?

A poem by Steve Slowinski, former Child Life Intern at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

This material may be printed and distributed without prior written consent. If you plan to copy the text and reprint in another format (e.g. a poster or flyer), please be sure to attribute the poem to the original author, Steve Slowinski.

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What I’m not:

   A nurse.
   A doctor.
   A social worker.

   A “Keeper of the Toys.”
   A magical “make-this-kid-not-cry” person.
   Only someone to play with the kids.

   I’m not superfluous.


What I am:

   I am a teacher,
   A helping hand,
   A support,
   An advocate,
   An active listener,
   A therapeutic touch,
   And a child development specialist 


   I am an OR prep-er,
   An IV teacher,
   A de-coder of PICC, VCUG, MRI and NG, 
   A distraction provider,
   An inpatient support,
   And a guide and voice for siblings 
      All in the same day.

   I am calm despite cancer, CAT scans, and catheters.
   I am strong in the face of syncope, sickle cell, and surgery.
   Kids can’t always do these things for themselves.
   That’s why I’m here.

   I am deliberate in all of my actions and words
   Because I use the language of children
   And it has power. 
   I am flexible and go where I’m needed
   Because children can’t always be flexible
   About when they’re going to freak.

   I am not here to merely play with children, 
      give them toys, and distract them
      With “SpongeBob”.

   I’m a Child Life Specialist.
   When kids say they can’t, I tell them they can.