Friday is cupcake therapy day

Cupcake therapy at Mott Children's HospitalSpending time in the hospital isn’t a piece of cake, but on Fridays at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital it’s cupcake time. Every Friday from 2 to 3:30, we host Cupcake Therapy in the Family Center. Cupcake Therapy is a great informal time for family members and patients to relax and enjoy decorating cupcakes.

Each week we have a theme based on the season or what’s happening at the University or in the Health System. We’ve done St. Patrick’s Day, spring flowers, March Madness, maize and blue and even made Despicable Me-themed Minion cupcakes. Chef Steve Shifano and his staff bake the cupcakes and the Family Center provides the frosting and all the decorations. Ann Hendrick, Family Center Coordinator, and I roll out the cupcake cart each Friday. We create a few sample cupcakes each week and those who come down to decorate use our theme and then express their own creativity.

We started calling it Cupcake Therapy after one of our Friday regulars came down and said he was there for Cupcake Therapy. It really is a relaxing time for people to sit at the table and be creative. While they are decorating their cupcakes, conversations start up among families about their experiences at Mott or just everyday topics. It’s a casual way for people to connect with one another.

People have spent 30 to 40 minutes decorating a cupcake. I especially love when someone who was reluctant to participate at first gets really into the decorating. They are usually the ones spending the most time and then photographing their creation.

Cupcake therapy at Mott Children's HospitalParents and family members frequently drop in to make a cupcake for a patient or to share with a nurse or doctor. For those who don’t eat their cupcake right away, we box them up. We can also put together a “cupcake kit” to take up to a patient room. This includes the frosted cupcake and all the decorations for the week. That way, patients who cannot come down to the Family Center can enjoy creating a cupcake in their room.

They may seem like “just cupcakes,” but the entire Cupcake Therapy experience appears to be so much more to these families and patients. It’s one of the favorite parts of my week.

Take the next steps:

  • Learn more about the Family Center.
  • Learn more about Patient and Family Centered Care at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
  • Watch our Facebook page for updates about the weekly cupcake theme, and let us know your suggestions for future themes using the comment tool at the bottom of this article.

Bryana BaylyBryana Bayly is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience. She’s a dedicated volunteer at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. She hopes to one day have a career in psychiatry and work with children who have autism. She’s originally from Rochester Hills, Mich.



5 thoughts on “Friday is cupcake therapy day

  1. avatar
    Ellie on said:

    I’m really not trying to be a downer and I love the idea of a time for family members and patients to relax — but I found it pretty ironic that in UMHS’ headlines today this story, equating cupcakes with therapy, was right next to a story on childhood obesity. I know, it’s cute, but just a thought on the irony and disconnect of this idea.

    • Thanks for your note, Ellie! Definitely ironic timing for these two stories to run the same day, but so far our experience with cupcake time at the family center is that it’s as much about the distraction provided by the decorating activity and opportunity to connect with other families as it is about the cupcakes. Thanks for being a loyal reader and noting the irony, though!

  2. avatar
    Kori Jones on said:

    Thank you Bryana for helping our patients and families make these incredible cupcakes each Friday. Thank you also to the Mott Family Center Staff for organizing this great event and to our incredible PFANS (Patient Food and Nutrition Services) Team who bakes these cupcakes every week for Cupcake Therapy!!

  3. avatar
    Melanie on said:

    I love this! The boy above is my son and we had left an appointment that day and stumbled upon the cupcake Friday Therapy day. He really enjoyed the distraction from his doctor visit and the long drive to and from the hospital on that cold day. I think this is a wonderful event and I am always impressed with Mott’s customer service on all levels. This really brighten his day! Thank you!!

  4. avatar
    Flor Armstrong on said:

    Thank you to the Mott Family Center and the volunteers for this wonderful idea, and for thinking in our families my kids really enjoyed. you guys are amazing!

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