Child Life

Child Life Programs

The Child Life program at American Family Children’s Hospital is made up of trained professionals with backgrounds in child development.

Learn more about our programs:

Playroom: The 24-hour playrooms are designed with children's developmental needs in mind. They include a variety of toys, arts and crafts, games, and other play items. There are daily scheduled activities to appeal to a variety of ages. If your child is unable to participate in the playroom, staff can offer suggestions for diversion and activities in your child's room. Learn more about Playrooms and Teen Lounges

Teen Lounge: The teen lounge is set up to meet the unique needs of teenage patients and siblings. The rooms are set up with video games, computers, arts and crafts, game tables. The teen lounge offers special activities and projects to promote socialization. If your teen is not feeling up to participating in teen lounge events, staff can offer suggestions for diversion and activities at the bedside.  Learn more about Playrooms and Teen Lounges

Tyler's Place: Tyler's Place is a unique area in the American Family Children's Hospital where siblings can interact with other brothers and sisters while their sibling is in the hospital. Learn more about Tyler's Place

Positive Image Center: Known as the only hospital-based center of its kind geared exclusively to children, the Positive Image Center at the American Family Children's Hospital provides a place where children can ease their anxiety about appearance-altering illnesses or procedures. Learn more about the Positive Image Center

School Room: American Family Children's Hospital offers Madison's only Board of Education-approved Hospital School to help patients - from kindergarten through high school - keep up with their school work. Learn more about Hospital School and School Re-entry

Pre-surgery Tours:  Call (608) 890-7888 to set up tours, which provide preparation and ease fears prior to surgery and is open to all family members. Tour guests become familiar with the medical equipment and visit all the areas patients go on the day of surgery.

Special Events:

  • BINGO: This interactive BINGO game can be played live on the first floor or on the TV in patient rooms, allowing all children and families to participate, including patients on bedrest and isolation. Bucky Badger leads Bucky BINGO once a month, with opportunities to win prizes. Manda Panda leads Medical BINGO once a month and features opportunities to learn about medical equipment.
  • Magic: Our magician performs tricks in the playroom or at your child's bedside during his monthly visits.
  • Special Visitors: Throughout the year special appearances are made by local sports teams, Santa, special donors, musicians, and community professionals.

Sibling Preparation Visits: It can be scary for siblings to visit the hospital for the first time. Child Life is available to prepare siblings in age appropriate language by using pictures and medical equipment to help children understand the medical environment. Child Life will accompany siblings to the patient's bedside to help answer questions and assess overall coping.

Patient Family Liaisons: Patient Family Liaisons help patients and families cope with the challenges of caring for their families when their child has been diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder. Liaisons connect families to programs and resources within the American Family Children’s Hospital and in the community and provide resources to various programs including the Hero Bead Program, Flashes of Hope, Parent Family Advisory Council, The Rainbow's End and open forum educational nights. Liaisons can also help direct patients and families to information about scholarships, camp information, local support groups, fun activities in the community, and online resources.

Pet Pals: The pet therapy program, known as Pet Pals, brings trained dogs to visit with patients and families to promote healing. Pet Pals is held every Tuesday evening and Saturday afternoon in the school room. Learn more about Pet Pals

Family Meals: Meals are donated by community groups, are free and offered on a variety of evenings at 5pm in the family kitchen. All leftovers are boxed and placed in the refrigerator for families to eat at a more convenient time.

Volunteers: Through the generous contribution of their time, volunteers add to the quality of care and service provided at American Family Children's Hospital. They help Child Life by assisting with playroom events and activities, providing breaks to parents, supervising and cleaning playrooms, serving family meals, and helping with daily tasks.

Youth Advisory Council (YAC): Facilitated by Child Life Specialists, this group represents American Family Children's Hospital present and former patients, ages 8 to 18. YAC offers suggestions to help make the hospital more child-friendly and to focus on ways to improve the health care of all children. Learn more about the Youth Advisory Council