In First Nations communities, the birth of a baby is a sacred event to be joyously celebrated but for new parents, life with an infant can be full of highs and lows. To help ease the transition to parenthood, the SmartParent program has been launched as Canada's first parenting support program that uses text messages to help guide new parents through each week of their baby's first year of life.
SmartParent was conceptualized as a follow-up to the SmartMom program, which provides prenatal education through text messaging. The overall goal of SmartParent is to support new parents in their transition to parenthood, decrease isolation and improve parent and infant health.
How Does SmartParent Work?
Developed by maternal and child health experts, messages are tailored to infant age and stage of development, and include links to trustworthy resources and online and in-person services.
Parents receive up to three text messages a week, each with a link to current, evidence-based information online. The benefit of text messages is that they provide busy parents with the information they need, when they need it in an accessible way.
The SmartParent program is:
The development of SmartParent is led by researchers from UBC in collaboration with Optimal Birth BC, the BC Ministry of Health and BC Health Authorities, and in consultation with pregnant and new parents, practising nurses, doctors, midwives and experts in maternal and child health. The program has also been endorsed by the Canadian Paediatric Society.
How Can Parents Sign Up?
Parents can register for SmartParent by texting the keyword SMARTPARENT to 12424, or by signing up at smartparentcanada.ca.
If you have any questions about the SmartParent program, please call 1-855-871-BABY (2229).