My name is Kristan, and I help reduce anxiety for kids fighting to Block Out Cancer.

Kristan Freitag, Child Life SpecialistI always knew I wanted to work with children, I just wasn’t sure what avenue that would take. During one of my school breaks my sophomore year at Central Michigan University, I did what is called an alternative break. I joined a group volunteering at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. I fell in love with the Child Life profession while I was there.

I love my job. I first interned at Mott about five years ago and then joined the team as a Child Life Specialist. Today, I work with pediatric patients in our radiation oncology unit. Before I started here, there was not a Child Life Specialist on this unit and about 40 percent of the patients had to be sedated for their radiation treatment. Because most of the kids receive radiation multiple days in a row, sedating them so frequently was a concern. We’ve been able to reduce that to about 2 percent.

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What’s in a name? 22q Deletion Syndrome

22q Deletion SyndromeHave you ever heard of DiGeorge syndrome? How about Velocardiofacial syndrome? 22q deletion syndrome? Maybe your answer is yes, but it would not be surprising for the answer to these questions to be no.

That is part of the problem.

One in every 2,000 to 4,000 children born have 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, making it almost as common as Down syndrome. Yet it’s an unfamiliar term to most people.

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Are you ready? Back to school tips for parents

Back to school tips for parentsAs the lazy, hazy days of summer wind down, many parents (and some children) are ready to get back to the routine of the school year. That routine is one of the key ingredients of a successful back-to-school experience.  Try out these back to school tips to make your adjustment back into the school year routine a smoother one.

Bedtime

After a summer of what was most likely a fluctuating bed time, reintroducing the school-night bedtime can be a challenge. It’s easiest if you gradually work back into it instead of waiting until the night before the first day. About a week before school starts, gradually start moving bedtime closer to what it will be during the school year. Move it up 20 or 30 minutes every evening until you’re back on track. Also start re-establishing a bedtime routine — bath/shower, brushing teeth, reading, etc. Whatever your school year routine is, get started with that now.

Wake Up

What’s your typical morning routine? If your child uses an alarm clock, start setting that now and gradually work into the time he or she will have to wake for school. If you are your child’s alarm clock, do the same thing and start waking him or her up earlier about a week before school starts so day one isn’t made more difficult by a sleepy student.
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Camp Little Victors Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

chocolate zucchini muffinsDelicious chocolate muffins are a great snack, dessert or potluck pleaser.

And the one thing that can make chocolate muffins better is finding a way to make them healthier AND even more tasty and moist!

This veggied-up take on chocolate muffins from Chef Rebecca Wauldron of Busch’s Fresh Food Markets is the perfect way to use up extra zucchini from your garden this summer.

Watch Chef Rebecca and her Camp Little Victors assistant, Lauren, whip up a batch, then check out the recipe below and enter our $50 Busch’s Fresh Food Markets gift card giveaway!


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Counting colors…and other fun survey activities for kids!

mott blog - survey graphic 2Three-year-old Amelie Strzalkowski, a neuro-oncology patient at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, loves colors and likes to ask others what their favorite color is. She and her mom keep track of all the answers they get and then Amelie’s 6-year-old sister Anya creates a chart tracking all the responses. It’s a super fun way for the family to engage with others throughout the day and allows them to work on a little project together.

Try creating your own chart or graph at home. Survey activities for kids can be fun, easy and educational. Let your child pick any topic, it can be something like Amelie’s, where she asks others for a response (what’s your favorite animal, favorite food, color of their bedroom…) or it can involve counting objects (the number of red/blue/green objects in the kitchen, the color of houses on your street, number of circles, squares/triangle-shaped objects in the living room…). The options are limitless and your child can probably think of some fun stuff he or she wants to count.

When doing your counting or tracking of answers, teach your child to make a tally sheet. That’s a simple grid that has the item you are tracking down the side and then a spot to mark a tally every time you find one or the answer is given. Add a number column where can total up the tallies.

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Yoga for Kids, Part II

Yoga is great exercise for all ages, but the earlier kids start the earlier they can start enjoying the life-long benefits. Specifically, yoga for kids can help them preserve physical flexibility and develop mind and body wellness lessons that they can carry well into adulthood.

And the best part is, many of the moves we recommend for your kids are great exercise for you to do right alongside them!

So grab your yoga mats and let’s get started.  Watch physical therapist Kendra VanWasshenova and her assistants Michael and Elena demonstrate a kid-friendly yoga workout in the below video.

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