As parents, we recognize and have experienced the difficulties fathers face in relating to and bonding with babies before birth and in the first few months after, so we were keen to investigate ways to make this time easier. We have seen that there is a lot of fantastic daddy time going on but that there are also situations where Dads can feel left out and marginalized in both pre and post natal services.
The DADDY CARD idea aims to encourage and incentivize meaningful daddy time by offering one or more free swimming sessions to first time dads and their babies. Therefore making accessible and familiar, safe, fun, social and physical spaces for dads and babies to hang out, bond and get to know each other. The card can be introduced before the baby’s birth in order to include dads more in antenatal services and can be distributed at Children’s Centers and during registration of birth.
We hope in the short to medium term DADDY CARD will encourage dads to try a new activity or discover a new leisure facility, perhaps grow in confidence and consider going again. In the long term we would hope to help to normalize ‘daddy time’ in communities and for families where it is usual for the Mother to take the lead in raising children. We hope DADDY CARD will contribute to the health and wellbeing of families as a whole.
Over the past 5 weeks we have:
– Interviewed dads about the time they spend with their children, what they like doing and how easy or difficult they found this time when the children were babies. We started with dads local and known to us but have recently got feedback from a few young dads in Lambeth.
– Contacted leisure centers in the boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Haringey.
– Spoke to providers of young peoples services in both North and South London, some of which are already interested in working with us.
– Designed and prototyped the DADDY CARD.
– Gave away a few free swims. Overall we got a really positive response from everyone we spoke to.
– We would like some more time to talk about our idea with dads from a range of communities aside from our own, using their feedback to inform the development of the idea. We are particularly interested in reaching young dads (ages 14 – 21).
– We need to forge stronger links with leisure providers and parental service providers in order to discuss the logistics of the free swims and ways in which the Daddy Card could be distributed and used.
– Seany OKane, ‘@ThatFatherhoodGuy’ has been a tremendous help to us and we would love to spend more time with him and his young dads groups.
– We will need further funding or sponsorship to pilot the free swims on a wider scale and to complete further research with our target service users and providers.
DADDY CARD has potential to be developed as a broader service than just free swims. It can be used to gather data, promote other local services and generate business for companies that sign up to offer discounts and incentives for dads. Its social value is important to us and we are confident it could benefit mums, dads and children alike. If you’d like to get in touch with us, please email info(AT)daddycard.co.uk
Emma and Jesus