Smiles of toys
PUBLISHED: 15:45 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 10:11 12 August 2010
TOYS have a central role to play in helping children cope with the fear and anxiety they face when in hospital to boost recovery,
TOYS have a central role to play in helping children cope with the fear and anxiety they face when in hospital to boost recovery, according to experts backing our Christmas toy appeal.
Lead play specialist at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup - Jenny Griffiths - explains that toys are not simply objects to alleviate boredom, but how important they can be as a therapeutic tool.
She has been in her role at the hospital for 15 years and with fellow specialist, Janie Saunders.
Mrs Griffiths said: "When children have to come into hospital they are often upset and can be very anxious. It is our job to reduce this anxiety by offering support, preparation and distraction for procedures during treatment, and a lot of this is done through play.
"A healthy child in a familiar environment doesn't need any encouragement to play, but a hospital can be a strange and frightening place to a child.
"Play allows them to express their fears and anxieties about being in hospital and their illness. It has a special place in hospital as it introduces some normality into their day.
"It has many therapeutic qualities and is a valuable aid to recovery."
Distraction books that have a sound element to encourage interaction prove effective, such as Disney books for toddlers and Where's Wally books for older children.
The specialist team is there to provide a service for kids with additional needs, those in isolation, children using English as a second language, developmental disabilities and those needing palliative care.
They also run two clinics every week in the blood unit for children who have to have a blood sample taken, helping to take away anxiety of the procedure.
Mrs Griffiths said: "Having good resources like toys, games and puzzles are key to this essential work on the ward and in improving the quality of a child's stay in hospital, making it a more positive experience.
"We work with children and young people from babies to teenagers and this year we would especially like to request gifts for older children as this age group is often overlooked.
"We really do appreciate the donations and gifts from your readers for this vital work amongst children, it makes a huge difference to all our children especially over the Christmas season."
How to donate
TOYS should be suitable for children aged 0-16 years and come unwrapped, in their original packaging.
Examples of what we want are: puzzles, dolls, plastic farm animals, arts and crafts, books, cars, train sets, wooden toys, CDs, stereos, personal stereos, DVDs, DVD players, PlayStation 2 games, all sizes of nightwear, baby toys, musical instruments. Also wanted are posters, pens, colouring sets, musical instruments, TVs, sensory toys, Nintendo game cube games, Nintendo WII and games.
Toys should be plastic so they can be wiped clean. No board games, no small pieces, no soft toys, and no building bricks.
Don't forget to write your name, address and contact number.
Please send gifts or drop them into reception at: Kentish Times Newspapers, Roxby House, Station Road, Sidcup, DA15 7EJ or Kentish Times Newspapers, The Courtyard, 7a Manor Road, Gravesend, DA12 1AA.