Child Life

When children or teens are admitted to the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center, they may experience many different emotions. They may have difficult questions and need someone to talk to about what they are going through. At Maynard Children’s Hospital, we have certified child life specialists on staff to help young patients, and their families, be as comfortable as possible.

Child life specialists, often referred to by the initials CLS, are devoted to making a child’s hospital
experience as understandable and close to his or her normal life as possible. Our focus is on making every child’s experience easier to bear and, by extension, providing support for parents.  

Child life specialists provide services in our inpatient and outpatient units. The team uses play, education and self-expression to promote the patient’s well-being and development. They also explain procedures in a way that helps children and families understand the unfamiliar medical environment.

If your child is having a procedure, child life specialists are available to prepare, teach and support you and your child through what he or she may experience. This may help reduce anxiety and allow your child to explore and ask questions about the procedure. We may use medical play, teaching dolls, real medical equipment and pictures of rooms and people your child will see to help him or her understand better. Children cope better when they know in advance what to expect.

We provide pre-operative tours to children who are scheduled for surgery and their families. These tours allow everyone to learn about the hospital and what to expect. To schedule, call 252-847-8922. Other Child Life Services include:

  • Group sessions
  • Individual psychosocial support
  • Preparation and support through surgery and procedures
  • Sibling tours
  • Grief and bereavement education and support
  • Coordination of special events, community guests and volunteers

Practicums and Internships

Child Life Services at Maynard Children's Hospital at Vidant Medical Center offers both practicums and internships and we follow national Child Life Council guidelines. Learn more about our practicumsinternships and the Child Life Council. 

Special Visitors Application

If your group is interested in a special visit to our children's hospital for a weekday event, we ask that you complete an application.  Please email the completed application to Tara Tadlock at All special visitors will receive a confirmation prior to their event by phone or email.

Donate to Child Life

To donate to Child Life, click the donate link and choose Children's Hospital in the pull down menu. In the comments box, indicate that the donation is for Child Life. 

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Other Matters

For all other matters related to Child Life, please call 252-847-5327.

More information on Children's Programs & Support
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