I discovered the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center soon after I gave birth to my son in June of 2011. I attended two of their parenting workshops and fell in love with the cozy, home-like setting in which I could commiserate with other parents in the community. It was a warm and peaceful place of support for all of those enduring the journey of parenthood, and I have made many friends there. This is why I began to visit often after I stopped working full-time in June of 2013.
By trade, I am a child life specialist and have worked at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for over 7 years. Child life specialists are experts in child development that use play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities to promote coping in children and families undergoing medical experiences. Children are especially vulnerable to stress and anxiety in these situations due to their lack of skills in coping and emotional expression. In the greater Cincinnati area, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Shriner’s Hospital for Children are the only places you will find a child life specialist. With the support of the founders of the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center, I hope to bring child life services out of the hospital and into the community by offering “Boo Boo Buddies,” a medical play class for children experiencing stress and anxiety with medical experiences.
Boo Boo Buddies is open to children ages two through five that exhibit stress and anxiety around medical encounters. Stress and anxiety can be caused from something as complex as a new diagnosis of a chronic illness to something as simple as not being able to tolerate a blood pressure cuff. Each child is unique in their ability to understand and manage their experiences. Boo Boo Buddies will offer medical-themed activities including art, games, and dramatic play to help children process their anxiety and emotions. Each class’ activities will be tailored to the participants, ensuring that each child works toward mastering their individual experiences. And because the wellbeing of every child is dependent on family support, information and guidance for parents, siblings, and other family members will be offered. Siblings are welcome to attend class.
I am honored and excited to be offering Boo Boo Buddies at the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center. The home-like setting offers a perfect, non-threatening environment to help children overcome some of their most challenging fears. It also offers parent-to-parent support that helps all parents feel connected, understood, and most of all, loved. Classes begin on Saturday, March 29, and will run for 10 weeks. Each 45-minute class will begin at 11:30a, and the cost is $100 per child (that’s just $10 per class!). More information can be found by visiting the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center’s website at www.theplaceforfamilies.com.
By: Jesika Roy, MS, CCLS