Get a taste of SMS4dads

Find out how you can better engage with the dads you work with.

Many health professionals and community workers ask us what the SMS messages are like and what dads say about SMS4dads after participating.

We’ve developed an SMS4dads sampler (a road test of a few messages) so that you can get a clear sense of how it works and experience what it’s like to receive a few sample messages.

The SMS4dads Sampler is easy, it’s free and only takes a moment to join up. Simply fill out the Sampler Form  to experience a taste of SMS4dads. Alternatively you can submit the form below that includes additional preferences for way to get involved in SMS4dads. 

#DadsMatter

SMS4dads

Professionals Taster - professional taster

SMS4dads Reference Group

What’s Involved

The SMS4dads Reference Group provides feedback on the development of new messages. When a new message is created members of the reference group are sent the message and asked to rate it   

1 = Good   

2 = OK  

 3 = Needs some work  

 4 = Problematic

Participants of the Reference Group are invited to add an optional comment about the message.

Invitations to provide feedback on SMS4dads messages are sent about four times a year to members of the Reference Group for rating and review.

IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN JOINING THE SMS4DADS REFERENCE GROUP GET IN TOUCH  

Info & Preferences

Pop in your details below to find out more about SMS4dads and sample some messages

Contact details

What is the content of messages like?

The SMS messages have been developed with paediatricians, midwives and specialist health workers – and tested for feedback from dads.

Three are three main themes of the message content

  • Father-infant connection
  • Father-Mother Team
  • Fathers Self-Care

Below are some example messages

FATHER-INFANT CONNECTION 

SAMPLE MESSAGE SENT AT 21 WEEKS GESTATION
Although it is noisy in here I will be able to hear your voice from about 20 weeks. 
Try telling me about the things we will do together.
 
SAMPLE MESSAGE SENT AT 22 WEEKS POST BIRTH
I feel safe when you cuddle me dad.
 

FATHER-MOTHER TEAM

SAMPLE MESSAGE SENT AT 33 WEEKS GESTATION
Do you and your partner agree on what is important and what is not at this time?
Keep talking to her about this because things are changing.
 
SAMPLE MESSAGE SENT AT 26 WEEKS POST BIRTH
When mum stops breastfeeding she may find it hard to get back to sleep after night feeds. This could be the right time to help out a bit more.
 

FATHERS-SELF CARE

SAMPLE MESSAGE SENT AT 34 WEEKS GESTATION
Walking together is good for health and good for relationships. Check the latest advice on social distancing and outside activities and suggest a walk together if you can.
 
SAMPLE MESSAGE SENT AT 1 WEEK POST BIRTH
Hey Dad – I’m going to triple my weight in the first year of life. Don’t let this happen to you too.
SMS4dads Connection-min
SMS4dads Communication with dad copy-min

Results so far

Over 8,000 dads have already experienced SMS4dads with feedback being extremely positive. 

With a growing number of young dads preferring texting over talking, engaging by text is showing to be an effective, safe and often more comfortable way of conversing with dads.

WHAT DADS SAY
 
Just wanted to say thanks – the texts have been invaluable. I couldn’t have known just how much I needed these short and helpful messages.
 
This has been a massive support for me. Every tip has helped form the dad I’ve become in some small way.
 

What encourage dads to join up

We know that dads’ partners play a significant role in their uptake of health services.

A large proportion of men who have participated in SMS4dads had partners who suggested, supported and in some cases enrolled them on their behalf in SMS4dads.

 

 

MOTHERS ARE SUPPORTIVE OF SMS4DADS TOO
 

It helped my partner feel part of the “baby process”, and that his experiences were also important. The texts gave us confidence and helped us avoid fights when extreme fatigue set in

 

What dads say

Professionals Taster - professional taster

Dads tell us they don’t want to be on the sideline.

They want to be involved as much as they can.

SMS4dads brief, timely messages help mums and dads be more understanding of one another’s needs and supports them to be better parents.

BELOW ARE SOME COMMENTS BY DADS
SMS4dads is so worth doing. It should be automatic for all dads.
 

You guys have been a massive help from the day my daughter was born.

SMS4dads helped me more than I could ever try to explain. 
 
I got a text about interacting with baby while I was doing it – it was spot on.  
 
It was like having someone guiding the way a bit. Because they were delivered to my phone it felt personal, and the tone of the messages was spot on.  
 

COMMENTS FROM MUMS

He felt more involved – right from the start. 

SMS4dads made him more confident about parenting.  

Unlike with our first baby … he is coming home and taking the boys outside or taking them for a walk or bathing them a lot more.  He even pops his hand up to do night feeds which has helped. 

 
 

Share SMS4dads

If you know a new or soon-to-be dad – let them know about SMS4dads. It’s a valuable service that contributes to the wellbeing of dads, their partners and their babies. IT’S FREE and dads from anywhere in Australia can JOIN UP

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram
SMS4dads what dads say-min

Richard’s research revealed possible long-term negative impacts on the children of dads with mental health issues. Fathers’ depressive symptoms in the first year after the birth predicted behaviour problems in their children years later.

“If dads’ mental health has such a dramatic impact then we need to be screening dads for depression, not just mums,” Richard explains.

In response to these limitations, Richard and his team have designed a smart-phone based program that allows mobile connection for new and expectant dads.

Participants receive texts containing information and links, and self-report their mood. If the mood tracker identifies dads as needing extra support, they will be offered a phone call from a counsellor trained in this area.

Following the success of the pilot of the SMS4dads program, Funding was received to enable a National roll-out.

“When dad’s miss antenatal classes or activities, they also miss out on contact and links to other people.  They may never get the chance to say to anyone, look I’m really stressed,” he points out.

“SMS4dads is a way of bringing dads into the health system and keeping them linked in with services and support,” explains Richard.

Richard Fletcher

Associate Professor, PhD

Richard credits a varied career, a talented and innovative team, and much life experience for affording him the insight needed to address the challenges related to actively engaging dads.

After completing his masters in Medical Science, studying epidemiology, Richard earned his PhD focusing on fathers and attachment.

“Fathers are invisible in many places, and that is endemic. Not because people dislike fathers, but because the system is set up to be focused on mothers.”

Some services and organisations are aware of the need to engage dads, but have been unsuccessful in their attempts.

“When people are challenged about this, they generally want dads involved,” Richard affirms.

“Often, however, they just don’t know how to do it.”

Richard works with health professionals on issues related to fathers, and has delivered many antenatal programs for expectant dads.

He credits his own family with giving him an understanding of the role of fathers needed to make his work relevant.

“I have three daughters and two stepdaughters,”

“My kids would say they taught me just about everything I know and they’d be right. They’ve taught me a lot, and still do.”

Richard’s research revealed possible long-term negative impacts on the children of dads with mental health issues. Fathers’ depressive symptoms in the first year after the birth predicted behaviour problems in their children years later.

“If dads’ mental health has such a dramatic impact then we need to be screening dads for depression, not just mums,” Richard explains.

In response to these limitations, Richard and his team have designed a smart-phone based program that allows mobile connection for new and expectant dads.

Participants receive texts containing information and links, and self-report their mood. If the mood tracker identifies dads as needing extra support, they will be offered a phone call from a counsellor trained in this area.

Following the success of the pilot of the SMS4dads program, Funding was received to enable a National roll-out.

“When dad’s miss antenatal classes or activities, they also miss out on contact and links to other people.  They may never get the chance to say to anyone, look I’m really stressed,” he points out.

“SMS4dads is a way of bringing dads into the health system and keeping them linked in with services and support,” explains Richard.