The “Letter to My Daddy” project involves sending 12 letters every month to the new dad of a first child during the first year of the baby’s life. Subsequently, five letters are sent, one at eighteenth months, then on the child’s second, third, fourth and fifth birthdays.
The sending of letters is done on the basis of birth announcements, to the mother’s address in the hope that it will be passed on to the father. The innovative concept of this programme is to act as if it is the child itself writing to their Daddy about their needs and wishes, but also giving them advice or information about the child’s development. The four people who designed the program are also behind the content of the letter. These dispatches take into account multiple births, but are not specific to the sex of the child.
The sixth letter in the first year contains a satisfaction questionnaire to be returned to the project manager at the Vieille-Capitale health and social services centre.
Numerous studies show that fathers help to build a child’s personality by way of a different and complementary role to that of the mother. The role of the father provokes a more rapid awakening in the child, a more open sociability or better control of early language. The role of the father in the development of the child is therefore indispensable (Le Camus, Le lien père-bébé [The father-baby bond], 2002; Le Camus, Le devenir père [Becoming a father], 2006, p. 30).
Thus, the programme has numerous implications. Respondents indicated that they obtained a lot of relevant information about the child’s development. Fathers are therefore more aware and feel more valued with regard to the place they occupy vis-à-vis the child. In the long-term, the initiators of the programme want to achieve significant results for the lives of children in particular, but also for society in general. Could this programme help to strengthen families, improve children’s behaviour in school, and make young citizens more responsible towards society?
Positive results from respondents, stakeholders and staff help to demonstrate the effectiveness and continuity of the Letter to My Daddy programme.