Australian fathers in rural, regional and remote areas, who are raising children aged three to five with challenging behaviour, will have a helping hand through a new mobile phone-based service.

DadPlay is a free SMS service developed by DadLab, the University of Newcastle’s Fathers and Families Research team.

It focuses on active father-child play and provides evidence-based information and practical advice to fathers on positive activities and relationships with their children.

The service is designed to help enhance family relationships, build social skills of kids and parents, and help understand child behaviour.


A new approach

DadLab says research has shown programs targeting parenting skills are effective, but many parenting programs unintentionally work against father inclusion and fail to engage, retain or measure men’s participation and impact on child outcomes.

DadPlay aims to change that.

Participating fathers will receive three to five SMS texts each week containing demonstrations of games, reminders to play, and psycho-educational information about child development, behaviour and parenting.


About DadLab

DadLab is a unique Australian research team exploring fatherhood – its impact on men, on children and on the wider family. The team consists of researchers in Family Studies, Psychology, and Occupational Therapy at the University of Newcastle.

The team say they seek to understand the fatherhood journey for men and how dads raise their children, ‘then aim to translate this new knowledge into strategies that improve the wellbeing of all humans within the family.’


Loving fathers

According to DadLab, ‘The presence of a loving father greatly increases a child’s chances of success, confidence and resilience, physical and mental well-being, and yes, quite naturally, their sense of humour.’

To register interest in this research project, simply text DadPlay to 0488 824 230.

DadPlay – what’s it all about? Explainer video below: