Great ideas for communicating with dads from the ‘Dad Project’

8 September 2014

The NSPCC’s Dad Project guide offers a range of useful tips and ideas for why and how to engage more effectively with dads, in the perinatal period and beyond. It draws on evidence from dads about what information they want, and how best to present it to them – and offers a great starting point for you to rethink your communications strategies.

Dad Project cover

Here are 10 top tips from the guide:

  • Think of dads as service users in their own right, not only as mums’ supporters. Know, record and use dads’ names.
  • Learn about the research around the psychological and social elements of both mums’ and dads’ experiences of pregnancy and new parenthood. Educate yourself about the challenges they can face.
  • Ensure your communications, workspaces and materials communicate that dads are equally valuable and welcome.
  • Reflect on and challenge your own assumptions and stereotypes about fathers. Seek feedback from dads about their experience of your service.
  • Help mums and dads to understand each other’s experiences of pregnancy and new parenthood. Show them concrete ways in which they can help each other.
  • Talk to mums and dads about the challenges of new parenthood so they know what to expect. In every contact, ask both parents how they are doing, and listen and respond respectfully to their answers.
  • Teach mums and dads how to care for a baby (for example bathing and nappy changing). Specifically encourage and acknowledge dads’ involvement in caring for their baby when speaking to the family.
  • Utilise scans as an opportunity to help both parents to engage in the pregnancy and get to know their baby. Ensure dads are explicitly invited to the scan and acknowledged when they are there.
  • Teach mums and dads about babies’ early cues and encourage them to watch and interact with their baby.
  • Consider how you can facilitate conversations between mums and dads, dads and dads, and wider families and communities to help create supportive networks around new parents.

You can download the guide for free here.

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One Comment »

  • Paul Odera says:

    Thank you for publishing this article. I work in an early learning centre and the issue around dads’ involvement is a really hot topic. I have been tasked to set up a dads’ group to enable the service to engage more effectively with dads.

    I must admit that the start is slow and extremely frustrating. Most dads see programmes like this more suited for women. They don’t think it is anybody’s business how they manage their family affairs. However it has become apparent that dads cannot just take the background position while they feature strongly when families break up and they have to pay maintenance. Dads’ attitude is a society problem because society has been conditioned to the dad in a particular light where some chores are specifically recognized as either a man’s or woman’s role. Anyone who thinks outside this stereotyping is viewed as a misfit in society. We probably need a global movement to actively campaign to change this view.

    I hope that adds to your review as you develop this models.

    Yours Sincerely

    Paul Odera

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