ARE YOU TEACHING YOUR CHILD THESE 10 ESSENTIAL LIFE SKILLS?

You might be sending your child off to school every day but what are they learning? If millions of people cannot learn to read and write properly after trying for 12,870 days, maybe it’s time to try a new direction.

Jack's Roar

Although we moan about the school system, it seems like it is here to stay. Even after the pandemic has finished and the schools doors open again, most parents, I am sad to say, will be shipping their children off to strangers with a lighter heart and sigh of relief.

I do not blame these parents for their sense of relief. Parents have a lot of pressure and stress in their lives due to the high price of living and the way society has pushed us all to wanting and feeling we “need” material things. But where does all this leave the raising of our children? If parents are too stressed, tired or feel helpless because they have to compete with social media and fun gadgets, what is the solution? (Guide to help parents here).

And more importantly, what does this have to do with our amazing little furry friend Kiki?

Kiki the Kung Fu Cat

Kiki is all about confidence

Confidence is a strong foundation on which a child can grow. With self-belief they are self-reliant, happy with themselves, not yearning for what others have; instead, they love doing what they do or learning more things.

Focus on our strengths

Kiki and friends believe in nurturing everybody’s unique powers, such as Piero’s affability, Banjo’s kindness and Dali’s bossiness. All these may not be “obvious” or commonplace strengths. But they each serve a purpose in different situations as becomes clear in The Circus is Coming to Town. They each have their own power and like pieces of a jigsaw when they work together as a team can have an amazing overall impact. Imagine each person in the world as a piece of a jigsaw, no one two the same. Put them all together and you have a beautiful effect. It all works together.

That is why much like the The Animal School Fable by George Reavis, we don’t believe in sending Kiki or Banjo to school to become the best swimmer. Just like you wouldn’t ask your goldfish to jump off the highest branch and expect it to fly. We should focus on their strengths.

We keep sending our children into the funnel of school and as they go along the tube they are stripped of their personal abilities and come out as standardised citizens at the end with the mediocre achievement of learning a bit of English and a bit of Maths. You get the picture. But what happened to that amazing talent they had as a 6-year old to inspire all their siblings to create great theatre or pretend to be a pack of wolves. Or their ability to draw and express themselves without fear? We tell them that learning to read and write and fit in with society’s timetable is more important. Are we sure that is true? Is it just convenient childcare? Are we just too lazy to give this proper thought or too busy to invest in our child’s well-rounded upbringing?

Although the pandemic may have inspired our schooling system a little more towards homeschooling or helped parents understand how teachers do more than just teach (i.e. role models, discipline, etc.), it isn’t going to revolutionise the system that is failing so many children – especially young teenage boys.

If the education system is supposed to be helping children to socialise, act as a childcare system so parents can go to work and because that large network of families has fallen apart, then fine. It has achieved that. But let’s not let it claim to be something it isn’t. If it truly is meant to teach our children then it needs some serious revamping.

Focus on what we CAN do

A child spends on average 11 years at school and after that time 1 in 6 (16.4%) adults in England still struggle to read and write, that’s 7.1 million people, not just a few hundred –  in the USA 21% fall into the illiterate category. Not only has the system failed, but now the children are going to see themselves as failures. If they were able to explore their artistic propensities or flair for debating or amazing sprinting abilities, they would be more confident, happier and successful in general. This would help reduce crime and mental illness as a start. It’s the way for us to evolve as a species, not stagnate by making our future generations go through a system that fails. We’re all happy quoting the saying of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity, yet we all buy into the school system…. I understand convenience is a big factor, so let me make it super convenient for you to make a big, positive difference in your child’s life. Click here or…

A fun journal Kiki’s I CAN Journal for Kids – boosting confidence and nurturing a positive mindset. Different and engaging activities every day for 3 months. 90 days to change a negative or lazy a mindset, cultivate self awareness and start good habits.

A Positive Start online videos. I would propose we teach these life skills at school:

  1. Courtesy
  2. Self-Control
  3. Courage
  4. Respect
  5. Honesty
  6. Commitment
  7. Gratitude
  8. Self-discipline
  9. Goal-setting
  10. Persistence

These are typically associated with skills taught at martial arts schools (that’s why Kiki believes in their validity). You can get more of an idea here with my online videos.

“Personal development and sense of greater self-awareness can never come too early in life.”

This course will help you teach young children essential life skills, become more self-confident, more aware of others and challenge them to grow. This kind of teaching also doesn’t suddenly STOP when they leave school. How many times have you heard: “I didn’t do well at school so I could not get the job I wanted.” Whatever you wanted to do at school is still accessible for you to learn after you’re 16 or 18. There are countless ways to retrain or immerse yourself in the subject or discipline or sport you enjoy. When you do something you enjoy, you do it best.

It will walk you through 10 fundamental life skills essential for empowering children to become more positive and happier. After providing a brief explanation of each skill, you will then be guided through 2-3 practical exercises to introduce to your child to help them understand and adopt the respective life skill.

This is then supplemented with further resources to help reinforce their learning by way of illustrated story-books to illustrate these skills through FUN and a Personal Advancement Manual to put their skills into ACTION.

“FUN and ACTION: two of the most powerful ways to learn.”

Armed with such skills, children will tackle difficult assignments, become more caring and it would benefit society as a whole.

The way technology is going, we no longer need entire generations to learn the “academic” skills. More about learning to live together as the world gets smaller and more reactionary. I used to worry about the perpetual knowledge deficit being passed on from one generation to the next. But actually, what difference does it make whether my child knows where to put an apostrophe, just as long as I do, ‘cos I’m a writer! They could know how to write a programme to help others lead a balanced life. I couldn’t.

Focus on what makes us different

Let everybody seek, explore and excel what they are good at. Don’t try to make everyone the same. There is enough knowledge and information out there for free now that if we really want to learn something, at whatever age, we can. Remember, necessity is the mother of all creation. If your child really wants to read – e.g. cheats on a game, comics, instruction manual for their toys – then they will. We shouldn’t keep shoving them down the tube to churn out more standardised grey. Let’s equip them with life skills. The rest will come naturally. Nothing forced was ever worthwhile.

If we cannot learn to read and write properly after trying for 12,870 days, maybe it’s time to try a new direction. Let’s help them respect themselves, become more understanding, persevere and not give up.

Let’s go for happy. Let’s go for confident. Let’s go for life.

Check out these 10 life skills, and see if even you could brush up on some!

“A Day at the Races”

“A Day at the Races”

Suitable for early readers (4-7-year-olds)

Welcome to the third book in the Kiki and Friends series. Out on the racetrack, our intrepid furry friends find themselves in the midst of adventure once again and face challenges that will test their courage. But fear not, for they are feline brave and their engines are roaring to go!

What’s it about?

Kiki and Banjo enjoy a day out at the Silverstone racetrack with Edgar, Allan and Poe. After an accidental tumble, what promised to be a relaxing fun day turns out to be an adventure beyond their wildest dreams. With a touch of cat genie magic and a whole lot of Kiki power, the 5 intrepid cats have the ride of their lives.

Kiki the kung fu cat saving her best friend Banjo
Kiki uses her kung fu powers to save her best friend Banjo

This book is purr-fect for 4 to 7-year-olds who love to read fun stories featuring clever cats and fast cars. Bonus: How to be Paw-some: 9 lessons at the back of the book to help you discover just how much of a brave hero/shero you really are.

How to Be Paw-some

9 lessons to help increase children’s self-belief, move them out of their comfort zone and be brave:

  1. Think BIG: aim high
  2. Believe you can
  3. Don’t give in to self-doubt
  4. Get out of your comfort zone
  5. Be ready to try something new
  6. Learn more skills: clever cats rule
  7. Get active: fuel your brain
  8. Be a part of something
  9. Learn the cat-walk
Banjo on the winner's podium. Kiki and Friends, inspiring little kids to dream big.

Why is self-belief important?

Kiki wants children to be courageous and brave so they can live life to the fullest. If you don’t try, you’ll never know just how amazing you can be. If you stay scared, you’ll miss out on new experiences that will help you grow, feel happy and make your life more fulfilling. Cats may have 9 lives, but we mortals just have one. Why not have a go at these 9 lessons to make sure it is paw-some!

Low self-esteem can lead to anxiety and depression

According to the NHS, “If you have low self-esteem or confidence, you may hide yourself away from social situations, stop trying new things, and avoid things you find challenging. In the short term, avoiding challenging and difficult situations might make you feel safe. In the longer term, this can backfire because it reinforces your underlying doubts and fears. It teaches you the unhelpful rule that the only way to cope is by avoiding things.

Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health and lead to problems such as depression and anxiety. You may also develop unhelpful habits, as a way of coping.

No parent wants that. Enter Kiki and Friends’s world to help move your child into a place of living and involvement. Let your child feel part of something bigger than them. Help them experience the world and all the wonderful experiences that await them.

HOW KIKI + FRIENDS HELP YOUR CHILD

Being Brave

Inspiring them to think big

Banjo wants to be a winner. He didn’t think: “Oh I’ll just try and maybe I’ll come in third.” No! He wanted to come first. That kind of thinking can really drive your child forward. And if they do come third or fourth, they have more experience when they try again next time—not to mention even more drive to succeed. This is not a characteristic to be frowned upon. Wanting to win is the opposite of complacency. And we know that complacency leads to: lethargy and an “I don’t care” attitude, which can be very harmful to children’s self-esteem. Even a seemingly harmless “I don’t mind” attitude already lowers their sense of self-worth.

“He dreamt he was a real racing car driver and that he won the race at Silverstone.”

Getting them out of their comfort zone

Inside your comfort zone it’s cosy and warm, so when you’re out of your comfort zone, it’s normal to panic or be worried. Your body is sending signals to your brain saying: “Yikes, this is new, I don’t know what I’m doing. It could be dangerous.” The brain will then trigger off all kinds of warning systems to you and others, like sweating, you give off a different smell, your heart beats faster. Just like Banjo:

He was panicking now. This wasn’t how it happened in his dream. In his dream he was a slick super racing driver. In real life he didn’t have a clue what he was doing.

But you know what, after you’ve done it once it’s not new the second time and all the warning symptoms calm down, so it gets easier every time.

Edgar and Allan ready for the ride of their lives

The power of self-belief

If you see yourself failing, that is what you will aim for. Believing you can do something is half the battle. You have already imagined yourself succeeding so you just need to go through the motions.

He was on his own now. Because he thought he could race like a winner, he did race like a winner…straight across the finish line. First.

Seeing a positive outcome, having that vision to aim for helps your child to make it become a reality. It is the desire to achieve something that makes it happen. Kiki and friends had a great day at the races because they didn’t give in to fear and self-doubt. They went for it, saw themselves as winners and became winners—in more ways than one.

A Day at the Races - A thrilling story for early readers from the Kiki and Friends series. Packed with a whole lot of Kiki power
A fast-paced story for early readers from the Kiki and Friends series

Tap into Kiki’s paw-some powers to help inspire your child to feel good about themselves.

SUMMARY OF THEMES AND STORY

Chapter 1                  At the Manor House

Being active. Thinking outside the box. Gratitude. The cats are enjoying themselves in the garden. Poe and Banjo get stuck bouncing on the trampoline. Kiki saves them with a new move. Lord Byron treats them to a day at the races to say thank you for getting his sons out and away from the TV screen.

Chapter 2                  At the Racetrack

Trying something new. Using initiative. Being brave. The 5 friends are enjoying the sounds and smells at the racetrack. Whilst they are ogling a race car, Banjo accidentally falls and lands on 5 race drives. They are knocked out cold. The 5 decide to take their places as the race is about to begin—even though they can’t drive!

Chapter 3                 At the Start Line

Being selfless to help others. The power of self-belief and perseverance. We see the race through Banjo’s eyes. At first he is worried but then he feels confident and goes on to win the race. Of course, Kiki the “cat genie” played a helping hand here in her usual selfless way. But now Banjo has gained new confidence and actually did win on his own at the end. They have to make a quick escape as the drivers wake up. Kiki creates a distraction with a hot dog stand.

Chapter 4             At Home

 Dream big. Lord Byron is not pleased with them lying to him about what they did and although he says it was dangerous and foolish, he does applaud them for having the courage to go ahead with their plan. Banjo confesses he didn’t win the race by honest means… he believes the “cat genie” helped him. But Kiki, and you, know the real reason: Big dreams, a little Kiki power and a lot of self-belief.

Self-belief is the tonic that quenches the fire of fear

All that matters is that Banjo believes he can, then anything is possible.

Yet again, by working together, this new group of friends has gone out of their comfort zone, enjoyed themselves and are eager, like the reader, for their next adventure!

Further ways to help raise your child’s self-esteem

This section is more for parents/educators. It explains why the author wanted to address the subject of self-esteem. Children with low self-esteem often:*

  • Have a negative self-image
  • Lack confidence
  • Find it hard to make and keep friends
  • Feel lonely and isolated
  • Tend to avoid new things and find change hard
  • Can’t deal with failure.
  • Tend to put themselves down
  • Are not proud of what they achieve
  • Are constantly comparing themselves to others.

Here are some things Kiki does that really help insecure children. She: 

  • sets an example of having a positive attitude when faced with challenges.
  • encourages them to try new challenges.
  • helps them set goals and make plans for things they’d like to accomplish.
  • lets them know they should not be afraid to voice their ideas and opinions.
  • promotes an I CAN attitude: “yes I can do this,” instead of “I can’t do this”.
  • helps children discover and develop their talents.
  • inspires them to get involved with voluntary or community projects.
A Day at the Races - A thrilling story for early readers from the Kiki and Friends series. Packed with a whole lot of Kiki power
BUY YOUR COPY HERE

*Source: Young Minds

How to Raise Creative Kids

When I was growing up, pursuing an artistic craft at school was frowned upon. It wasn’t a “serious” choice. It was a “risky” and “frivolous” choice that would lead you to poverty and misery. Well bah humbug to that say we at Kiki and Friends. Without artists and designers, creators and innovators our world would be a seriously dull and static place. No movies, no music, no books, no new technology, no Kiki…. yikes!

I am glad to say that the “softer skills” are now more in demand. Creativity being among them. Because let’s face it, since kids are no longer following just one career path, but juggling a dozen gigs or having to climb a steep learning curve to keep up with technology, I’d say they are going to need to be thinking more out of the box than ever. So how can parents help their children be more creative, to think laterally, be problem-solvers instead of problem-dodgers, and tap into their full artistic and innovative potential? Read on for 3 ways you can start today.

The sugar-coated creativity pill

Now I know you’re realistic enough to not expect me to deliver the solution in the format of an easy to swallow sugar-coated creativity pill to be taken once daily with a healthy helping of visits to art galleries. Nor do you expect me to proffer you some kind of secret inauguration to a divine gateway accessible only to veterans within the industry, or even a leg-up so your child can hop onto the top rungs of the ladder simply because of who you know. Nonetheless, you are expecting some kind of a formula. How to break it down in a nutshell…. Hmmm.

To become a creator, you must first become an observer.

Let’s start with an overview:

  • experiences
  • time (this refers to how much time you invest in creating)
  • talent (this can be genetic or born from the drive/desire to do something)
  • practice, practice, practice
  • open-mindedness
  • learning (see below – point 2)
  • rest and relaxation (all work and no play makes Kiki a dull cat)
  • diversification (eating/seeing/doing the same things lowers your release of dopamine and you become lazy, unmotivated)
  • interdisciplinary visions
  • patience
  • perseverance
  • watching

If your child mixes all of the above with a dash of

  • seeing not looking
  • finding not searching
  • yielding not pushing
  • inaction instead of action
  • following your natural cycle

they’ll be a perfect “vessel” through which creativity can flow. Some call it being in the zone or in the flow, others say they are visited by a muse. Wherever they are and whoever comes to visit, they need to have their pen, brush or chisel at the ready because when divine inspiration strikes, it doesn’t come looking for couch potatoes!

Creativity is not something you can switch on and off at the tap.

It is said you can be born with a greater propensity for the creative than the logical. I certainly believe this to be true for I have never had the luxury of being blessed with a single logical thought in my life – god only knows how much bother that would have saved me. Instead I tripped and stumbled my way through life leaving a trail of images, books, courses and ideas behind me. My contribution to society.

If every child you grow up to contribute positively to society, society, inspire one or a hundred more people to thrive, be happy or just smile, the world would be a better place all round. Hooray for creators!!

Encourage children to step out of their comfort zone and to think out of the box. All this will help nourish their creativity.
Image by ilovetattoos from Pixabay

How to encourage creativity in your child

If you would like to encourage your child to be creative or at least give them the foundation to pursue a creative pursuit when they are older…. to keep their options open, then I would recommend the following:

1. Firstly, make life hard for them, i.e. don’t make life easy for them this only encourages inertia. Present them with challenges, i.e. new situations that give them the opportunity to see things differently, to learn. Push them out of their comfort zone, but with a realistic probability they will succeed just like when you teach them to walk. Stretch them to take another step they otherwise wouldn’t have taken on their own. Remember to praise them only when they’ve done something good.

Do the above at a ratio of about 5 to 1. Too much praise will not help them respect you as a person of authority, nor will it drive them to want to try harder next time. After all, as the parent you are their mentor and main drive. Use this position and the power it comes with whilst you can, for once they are at school, especially secondary school, you lose at least half of your power and ability to guide and teach them at the drop of a hat. It just happens. Get over it. Their friends and the media jump in and take over this role.

2. Secondly, I would ask that you expand their horizons. If you are financially able, take them to experience different countries and cultures. Immerse them in places they do not know. This helps to take them outside of themselves. They empathise with others. A great skill no matter what industry or field they eventually work in as an adult. The experience will not be daunting or overwhelming because you as their steadfast parent will be there by their side to anchor them and provide the sense of safety they need—leaving them free to absorb everything like a sponge. They will take this sense of security on with them.

Even if you don’t have the means to take them away, you can expand their minds and horizons through learning and reading. If they don’t like to read, encourage fun documentaries where they can learn about the planet, history and science and mythology, provide audio books or tell them stories. Go on walks. Explore. If you have relatives, get them to tell them stories. Educational stimulus is a must for fuelling creativity.

Learning could also include playing an instrument learning a sport or martial arts, gymnastics, climbing, swimming. so at least at the end of it they will have learned a skill – one which will most likely help them to destress and release tension as an adult – an absolute must for creatives

Provide children with the materials and space to be creative and express themselves.
Image by TanteTati from Pixabay

3. Thirdly, provide them with the means and space to express their creativity: paints, lego pencils, papers—the space has to be completely free. No rules, no set parameters, they can make things as big or small as they want. They can make as much mess as they want.

All this must be done indirectly. The child does not need to know they are being propelled towards a creative path. That is counterproductive. Let it all come out of them with ease.

The more relaxed they are, the more like they are to absorb. Let go to let it in.

In the end, we want there to be more rather than less information, knowledge and experience for the child to draw on when they create. It is the interplay of all the disciplines, skills and knowledge they have learned that produce the final piece of work. If you only have standard school knowledge or not a lot of experience, you won’t be able to produce much of any interest. I must reiterate again, it is not about money: reading and thinking or rather reflection on things you have heard and seen, plus actually trying this out so you make the knowledge and experience your own and not just borrowed from the teacher or whoever shared it with you, all this fill your well of creativity.

Give future generations the chance to be great creators.

Don’t dissuade kids from doing art at school in favour or more “career-oriented” subjects. Without creators and designers we would not have all the wonderful objects, entertainment and technology we have today. Don’t stop your child from amazing the world in the future. Allow them to explore their creative path naturally, push them to try the difficult, don’t make life too easy for them and expand their horizons.

Encourage them to keep a journal so they can write down all their ideas, observations and musing, or they can draw them or have a place where they can stick pictures, tickets and other interesting titbits they find. And don’t forget dear parent, it’s never too late to release the artist in you too!

Celebrating Kiki’s Wins in 2020 + New Releases for 2021

I hope your New Year has got off to a good start and that all healthy resolutions are still being honoured!! We’ve got a long way to go, so you need to keep up the positive attitude!

As you probably already know, Kiki and Friends stories are all about positivity. While most messages recently have been about what a bad year 2020 was, we at Kiki headquarters are celebrating a year of achievements.

A YEAR OF ACHIEVEMENTS

Kiki and her friends got totally jiggy with their creativity and knuckled down to business in 2020. Here are two examples of what they achieved:

1. Release of The Circus is Coming to Town for early readers available in all good bookshops and amazon

Do you recognise Banjo, Kiki and piero in their funny circus disguises? What on earth could they be up to now?
Kiki and Friends at the circus

As usual Kiki is the one with the plan and inspiring confidence in all of us, but the story also explores the themes of

  • animal cruelty
  • working as a team
  • individual strengths
  • compassion

Visit Kiki’s website to see how this book can help raise awareness with your child to think of others less fortunate than themselves—and to believe more in their unique, individual strengths. Click here: More than just a fun story.

2. Plus, the trials and launch of the pioneering Kiki’s I CAN Journal for Kids for 4-8 year-olds available in all good bookshops and amazon

Kiki encourages an I CAN mindset because confidence opens doors, while self-doubt shuts them.

The main objective for the journal is to learn through fun… while picking up some good habits along the way, such as:

  • building self-confidence
  • strengthening self-reliance
  • building a positive mindset
  • nurturing a mindful approach

The kids didn’t even know they were doing it – they just had fun (remember when you were a child doing quizzes and puzzles? All that achievement helped you build your self-confidence).

SOMETHING LOOK FORWARD TO

Although Banjo may want to put up his paws and drink milkeo all day, Kiki and Dali intend to get busy with some more projects this year. Naturally they will call on the flamboyant flair of Piero to make them just as colourful and fun.

NEW RELEASES

What you can expect from Kiki and Friends this year:

Adventure Stories for Early Readers

A Day at The Races – expected release date: 27 February 2021  
The Major – expected release date: 26 June 2020


Illustrated Rhyming Story for 0-5-year-olds

Kiki and Banjo Save Christmas – expected release date: 22 August 2021

Personally, I’m very excited about this second illustrated book featuring Kiki and Banjo … this one has been brewing for a long time. Time to get the drawing pencils out!

I hope you will find time to get creative this year, whether it’s painting or making your journal look pretty – we even get creative when we cook, organise and of course spruce up the house… and since we’ve been looking at the same 4 walls just a little longer than we may have liked to, why not try your hand at rearranging your living space, maybe liven it up with some new covers and vibrant plants to refresh your surroundings.
What we nourish our eyes and minds with is just as important as what we eat and the company we keep.

So open up a book to join Kiki and Friends, you’re sure to be in great company as you feast your eyes on the oh so cute illustrations and fill your mind with all kinds of positivity and inner victories.

I hope your 2021 is off to a positive start and continues to be filled with joy and fun.

Kiki’s Christmas Calendar

Spreading a little joy to our children
The purr-fect gift for children under 10.

Based on the successful Kiki’s I CAN Journal for Kids

It has been such a trying year for our children (and us parents!). Kiki thought it might be nice to make a surprise treat for them. So she put her head together with Banjo, Piero and Dali and they came up with the idea of a Challenge Advent Calendar. Admittedly Banjo just ate all the biscuits during the planning and brainstorming sessions, but he played a vital role in keeping everybody’s spirits up with his positive nature. And that is what we want to do: keep your spirits up.

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE

Yes it’s true. The best things in life are free, that is why we are offering this amazing advent calendar completely free (only make a donation of your choosing if you want to down below)

Free or make a donation below

Because the “Challenges” week was such a hit in our trials, we decided to base much of this calendar on things for the children to find, learn or do. Plus there are wordsearches and colouring in sheets to keep them busy in a productive and creative way—Kiki even came up with a new tongue twister and Dali wrote a poem!

VERSION 1: CLICKABLE DIGITAL PDF


Kiki's Christmas Challenge - Free Advent Calendar packed with fun challenges and activities. Ideal for children under 10... and certainly better than chocolates. Spreading a little joy after a difficult year x
Kiki’s Christmas Calendar

If you have any trouble downloading or opening or using the file, just let me know and I’ll help you: CONTACT

CHILDREN LOVE SURPRISES

VERSION 2: QR CODE SCANS

Here is a version using QR code scans if you prefer. Once you’ve downloaded it, you can just hold your phone up to each day with a QR code reader to access the challenges. Kiki thought it was best to leave it in Word so you can enlarge the scans in case your reader is very sensitive and scans the day next to the one you want!

Kiki's FREE Christmas Calendar with QR Codes. Just scan to open up your window of surprise. Definitely more fun than chocolates. And yes, it's free. A little treat after such a strange year.
QR Code Scan version
A few thoughts….
  • Don’t worry, your child doesn’t need to know the Kiki and Friends stories to enjoy this advent calendar.
  • Designed especially for Christmas. All the content is unique.
  • Challenges help broaden your child’s mind and make them feel more confident.
  • Learning and growing through fun things to do and learn is the best way.

PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Kiki and her friends hope you and your little ones enjoy the calendar and wish you a Merry Catmas and Furry Happy New Year!

Free or make a donation below

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Kiki and her friends are grateful for your generosity.

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Kiki’s I CAN Journal For Kids

3-Month Daily Journal For Children.

This beautifully illustrated daily action journal is easy to use. It is based on the principle of promoting healthy habits every day to ensure your child’s stability, good health and contentment in the future.

Kiki’s I CAN Journal for Kids

With the help of Kiki and Friends, your child is encouraged to look for the positive, spend time being mindful and reflect on how they feel. Based on Kiki’s signature red headband for confidence, Kiki’s I CAN Journal for Kids

  • cultivates your child’s daily sense of achievement
  • increases their self-belief and
  • boosts their sense of self-worth.
  • builds up an I CAN attitude
Kiki encourages an I CAN mindset because confidence opens doors, while self-doubt shuts them.
Kiki’s signature red headband promotes self-belief

Using scientifically proven methods to nurture a growth mindset and promote positivity, your child will develop healthy daily habits for life in just a few minutes every day.

1. Kiki’s Challenges

Kiki's Challenges week is designed inspire your child to see things from a different perspective and become more aware.

A new challenge every day: to inspire your child to see things from a different perspective and become more aware.

Each challenge encourages them to learn, notice or step out of their normal zone. It broadens their horizons and nurtures their confidence.

2. Dali’s Doodles

Simple and soothing: Colouring in is a an assured way of switching off from worries and thoughts. We’ve all enjoyed this simple activity as children. Being mindful and relaxed doesn’t have to be complicated. Focusing on the colouring in and the images helps to switch off any negative chatter in your child’s mind and takes them down a path of creative imagination.

Dali's Doodles encourage the mindfula nd relaxing activity of colouring in and gives your child the opportunity to be creative.

3. “Mighty Me” Missions

I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t enjoy challenging themselves—or competing with other children, especially siblings. These easy exercises and balancing “missions” engage your child’s desire to succeed and nurture the habit of doing physical activity every day.

MightyMe Missions with Tiny and Titch: Exercising has profound health benefits, boosts your child's mood and makes them more alert! When they achieve a mission, it makes them feel more confident about themselves.
MightyMe Missions with Tiny and Titch

4. Kiki’s Caring Kids

Caring is an essential life skill: Our children should learn to care not just for others, but for themselves and the world they live in. Each month Kiki encourages your child to explore each of these areas in turn. At the end they even get a Certificate of Achievement to further consolidate the importance of what they have done.

Here are just 3 the reasons why caring is so important:
  • caring for yourself engenders self-respect, which in turn fosters respect for others, animals, objects, plants, other people’s efforts and things around you
  • learning about your planet helps you appreciate and value it more
  • being more compassionate towards others decreases your sense of self-importance and nurtures an attitude of understanding (less focus on the self makes us happier)

And much more…

Plus motivational quotes, daily prompts for inner reflection, gratitude and increased awareness, bonus activities… And of course Dali’s mood metre!

Just a few of Dali’s neckerchief mood colours

Nothing prepares us as parents for all the new stresses our children may face.

To help provide support, Wellness Mentor and children’s author Francesca Hepton designed this journal to gently guide your child into a world of positivity and build a foundation of daily healthy habits. If you want to raise confident children, spend 5 minutes a day with them and Kiki’s I CAN Journal for Kids. They have fun and want to do it every day as they don’t realise how much they are learning: consistency pays and your child plays.

3-Month Daily Journal For Children: Kiki's I CAN Journal for Kids encourages children to look for the positive, spend time being mindful and reflect on how they feel. Its scientifically proven methods promote a confident mindset and nurture healthy choices.
Kiki’s I CAN Journal for Kids

Reviews

“The size of the actual book is just right, not too big/small. Easy to pocket in handbag and carry anywhere so the child has a productive way to spend time while waiting (instead of just being glued to the iPad!)”

“My niece looked forward to doing it, then gets distracted with something else halfway. But after about a week of continuously doing it, she actively asks for the journal to write/colour/draw. I’m happy to see her interact positively with the book. Some bits were challenging for her at first, but it’s good not to make it easy for them.”

“He loves it. I was concerned at first cos he completed parts, skips a page, then comes back to it. I think he’s just curious as to what each page hold. Once he’s done with one page, he’s eager to start another.”

“Helps with motor skills too, colours IN the lines (which is an achievement because she used to just scribble) this is noticeable in the YOUR TURN part of the drawings.”

More open to expressing herself. After deep breaths, she’s able to articulate if she’s “angry” or “sad” instead of just throwing a tantrum.”

“Although my grandaughter has always been a bubbly personality, after learning to sit down and spend time to recognise emotions, positivity, and cute pictures, she’s calmer and is able to sit down for a longer time. She responded well to the Tiny Listening bit. During an outburst by her little sister, she said ‘Tiny is listening. What is wrong?’ I thought I misheard her but she meant the characters in the book. She was imitating their empathy and I thought that was really fascinating to see.”

“Kiki’s I CAN journal is a an excellent way to allow a child to learn how to journal at a young age.”

“I can see his level of engagement grow week by week. It fluctuates throughout the week itself but there is interest in wanting to doodle in his “Red Book“.”

Even though Katie has not read any other Kiki and Friends stories, she made up their backstories – great for their imagination!”

“It helped increase my child’s vocabulary, such as spelling the word CONFIDENCE.”

“It’s a good tool to explore her creativity and I appreciate having this opportunity to spend time with her and watching her grow.”

“I liked the fact it focused on one area per week. I think it helped to cement a routine so it’s good that it wasn’t too much to do in one go.”

“My daughter has a younger sister (2 years old) and I’ve noticed that when the 2 year-old reacts negatively to a situation, my daughter is able to placate her little sister by asking “are you feeling sad or angry?” Prior to the journaling, she didn’t interact in that manner so I think it helps her understand situations and read them better as well as be more self-aware. I hope this would encourage other kids too.”

Note to grown-ups/journal buddies

This is not a diary. It is not a personal development tool. It is a proven way to illicit hidden feelings, promote emotional intelligence and consolidate a positive, confident attitude among children under 8. Its message and effects work indirectly. It must be delivered as an activity book. Not a chore with the promise of changing the child or “fixing” them. No child is broken. Every child is beautiful. Let’s help them see that. Ideal for children aged 4 to 7. Younger ones will need help with writing.

BY POPULAR DEMAND also available in blue!

3-Month Daily Journal For Children: Kiki's I CAN Journal for Kids encourages children to look for the positive, spend time being mindful and reflect on how they feel. Its scientifically proven methods promote a confident mindset and nurture healthy choices.
Kiki’s I CAN Journal for Kids – in Blue!

Bring Out Your Child’s Inner Lion

6 Ways to Raise a Confident Child

There are two ways to get to the moon: jump on a rocket or a very long stairway. Which would you choose? If you’re in a rush, you take the rocket, the stars whoosh by in a blur, you have the thrill of the ride and in a flash you arrive at your destination. What if you choose the stairs? Yes, it takes considerably longer, but you can stop to linger and marvel at the beauty of the stars and planets. You build up your muscles taking one step after the other. You might even stop off at a couple of other planets on a little intergalactic pitstop.

When you’re not in a hurry to get somewhere you can soak up the sights and build a strong foundation of understanding, taking your time to learn and absorb along the way.

Which one would you take? If you are asking yourself: What does all of this have to do with your child’s confidence? If you’re impatient and just want to skip to the answer without laying the foundation, then you are in the rocket. If on the other hand you are starting to see a message unfold and want to really understand how to help your child, you are on the stairs, building a strong foundation of understanding. Let me walk with you and explain how.

Children who know their boundaries are more confident. When your child knows his/her boundaries they can explore life with confidence and curiosity.

3 Macro Tips for building your child’s confidence

  1. Stability
  2. Learning
  3. Boundaries
Heartfelt Mamas interviews children’s author, Francesca Hepton

1. Stability

Routine. Consistency. Reliability. This one you’re probably familiar with. If a child does not have to worry about their basic needs, know they can rely on you and that they are loved, they are less likely to develop an anxious mindset.

Remember, especially in times of hardship not to pass on your fears or disrupt your “normality”. Your fears become their fears. The world can be falling apart but if you are stable, they can handle anything. Never worry about when their next meal is, erratic spikes in behaviour (leads to anxiety) or question if they are loved.

Your responsibility is to look after their basic needs. Even if your situation is not ideal. Looking after your child’s basic needs is a must. Their happiness will even give you comfort. If you don’t, your child will fret more, become anxious and unsure. This is an insecure child, not a confident one. You have to deal with the adult problems and give them space to grow as a child.

Routine doesn’t mean boring. Have things to look forward to.

Learning expands your child's horizons and knowledge base. This gives them more confidence to express themselves and feel more assured as they navigate through life's challenges.

2. Learning

Let’s not confuse this with achievement. Learning is the process of creating a patchwork quilt that eventually cloaks your child offering them shelter, guidance and comfort. If they have knowledge they become self-sufficient. Knowledge empowers them to tackle challenges and make smart, informed decisions.

Achievement does come into play as well, as they feel pleased with themselves and this boosts their sense of self-worth. But achievement on its own can be empty. We don’t want to over inflate their ego with pride.

3. Boundaries

This factor may be less familiar to you in this context. It goes hand-in-hand with learning and stability.

For example, do not let your child watch a 15-rated film if they are not 15. This is erratic, unfounded behaviour that will confuse them. THey will find it more difficult to discern right from wrong. We need to build them up slowly. They first have to be able to understand the messages of films for kids in their age group. They will not understand the subtleties of the humour designed for an older audience. They will not be able to process any disturbing messages in the same way as a young adult can.

Do not hurry your child’s childhood. Once they understand a certain set of boundaries they will be pushing for the next, it gives them something to strive for. If you open up the floodgates, they are like jelly on a hotplate.

Confidence is an all-important factor is your child's ability to succeed. It helps them try new things, explore life with greater curiosity and want to contribute to the world.

It starts with bars on the bed—a cot not a strange prison!—a child gate at the top of the stairs, then stopping them from wandering outside f the house on their own.

Helping them cross the road until they are old enough to check for themselves. Helping them navigate the options in the playground until you can let go and watch them try on their own.

Once they have gone through the previous steps, they have the skills to move to the next with greater self-confidence. They need to learn the foundations. They need boundaries to push. And it doesn’t stop when they are teens. They still push for later hours, not doing homework, etc. more TV… your teen is just a taller version of your toddler with a greater arsenal of vocabulary and mood swings.

3 Micro tips for building your child’s confidence

  1. Give them responsibility
  2. Listen with an open mind, heart and ear.
  3. Daily healthy habits

1. Give them responsibility

This of course needs to be age appropriate. I have listed some suggestions below. Instruct them first on how to do the job, show them how you do it. Give them a one-liner to make their goal memorable. e.g. “Wipe it. Clean it. Bin it.” or “Make it green.” Then:

  • Leave them to it.
  • Do not interfere.
  • Do not tell them what they have done wrong.
  • Do not give false praise.

Jobs for under 5s: put toys away, pair socks together, wash the car, tidy the lounge before bath time, rake up leaves

Jobs for over 5s: bake biscuits for local emergency services, feed the birds, make cup of tea for parents, do the recycling, do the washing up, plant vegetables in the garden

2. Listen with an open heart

When someone is talking, we’re often just waiting for them to finish so we can say what we want. We want to share our experience of the same thing they described. We are not being selfish, we are trying to build a bridge and show we understand. To connect. However, whilst we are busy formulating our answer, making sure we don’t forget, we are missing out on key points in what our friend is saying. Or in this case, our child.

It is essential that we listen as they may be giving us important messages about stuff that is bothering them, something they are excited about… children aren’t always black and white blurting out exactly what comes into their head—sometimes stuff that has been fermenting a long time in their brains comes out. It can be a cry for help, something that happened to them or is happening to them that they don’t understand.

Remember, your child has not had years of practice at this communication thing like us, and even then we find it hard to express how we truly feel. It is impossible to convey exactly how you are feeling to someone else as we all have our own filter through which we infer and digest information (e.g. our personality, our memories and experiences—these all taint how we interpret and relay things, actions and feelings).

Listen and learn. Invest time in your child, the payback will come back thousandfold.

In the end, all parents just want their kids to be happy. If they are confident they are more likely to be resilient and find ways to overcome obstacles. Give your child that gift.

3. Daily healthy habits

Have you read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear or heard about the compound effect of good habits? These great tips for personal development and self-improvement are not just reserved for adults. Like those of us who chose the stairs to get to the moon, we can build up our child’s confidence muscles and strength by encouraging them to take little steps on a healthy path every day.

Shooting for the stars may get you there quicker, but what do you learn and see on the way?

That is why I am an active advocator of journaling. It is not keeping a diary of all the boys or girls you fancied at school or

It is a record of your thoughts and dreams, a place to reflect on yourself and the world around you every day. It keeps you on track. Increases your level of awareness. If your child takes up this practice, it’ll help them understand the principle: Every action causes an effect. They begin to think before acting rashly.

Kiki’s I CAN Journal for kids guides your child through a journey of personal victories, mindfulness and new challenges. It prompts them to reflect and experience a sense of achievement. In addition to this it gives you an opportunity to bond as it provides a point of conversation. Plus, it makes your child a more caring person: for themselves, others and the world they live in.

Based on Kiki’s signature red headband for confidence, the I CAN Journal cultivates your child’s daily sense of achievement will increase their self-belief and sense of self-worth.
90-Day Action Journal for Children

Kiki and Friends can help your child become fearless, caring and roar with a lion’s confidence. Let’s help get them ready for an ever-changing world. Let’s give them the gift of inner confidence for life.

Thank you to Cheree Sauer @heartfeltmamas for inspiring me to write this article.

Positivity Journal For Kids

A Gentle Introduction To Journaling

Using this 6-week introductory journal, you will discover how and why your child should start a Positivity Journal (click here to request your FREE copy).

Positivity Journal for Kids - Helping children see the positive
Positivity Journal for Kids – Helping children see the positive
What Is Journaling?

Perhaps it is easiest to explain what journaling is by clearing up what it’s NOT. Keeping a journal is NOT like writing a:

  • Diary
  • To do list
  • Planner
  • Notebook

Journaling is a private activity, but with young children, they will/may need the assistance of a grown-up. Each day, for example, they reflect on how they feel, what they thought and what they did. Alternatively they can keep a journal of ideas, dreams, places they want to go or things they want to do or become. It is a time and space dedicated for private reflection.

Different Types of Journal

As you can see from above there are all kinds of journals. You can even keep exercise, diet, business and family journals. The common thread through all of them is the act of writing down your thoughts. Kids can use notebooks of any size and personalise them, decorate them, make them their own.

There is of course Kiki’s I CAN Journal, which helps children start this healthy daily habit from a young age (ideal for 4-7). This 90-day activity journal nurtures your child on their way to a positive mindset whilst cultivating their self-confidence.

Based on Kiki’s signature red headband for confidence, the I CAN Journal cultivates your child’s daily sense of achievement will increase their self-belief and sense of self-worth.
Kiki’s I CAN Journal For Kids

Journaling with pen and paper requires the application of the analytical, rational left side of the brain; while your left hemisphere is occupied, your right hemisphere (the creative, touchy-feely side) is given the freedom to wander and play. This allows your creativity to flourish and expand and can make a big difference in your daily well-being

What Are the Benefits of Journaling?

We find it is an extremely useful tool to help children through big changes or challenging times; e.g. pupils transitioning from primary school to secondary school. All big changes affect us in different ways. Ways we sometimes do not see but that can manifest over time into worry, stress and then physical ailments. Positivity Journaling gives your child the opportunity to identify negative emotions before they become pent-up, keep them in a more positive frame of mind, and help them build a greater sense of self-awareness and perspective on life.

Journals come in all shapes and sizes

Journaling can be effective for many different reasons and help us reach a wide range of goals. It can help you clear your head, make important connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

Overall, journaling has been found to:

  • Boost your mood/affect
  • Enhance your sense of well-being
  • Reduce symptoms of depression before an important event (like an exam)
  • Improve your working memory (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005)
How Can Writing Make Us Feel Better?

You might be wondering how writing in a journal can have a significant impact on your life. After all, it’s just putting some words on a page—how much can that really do for you? It turns out that this simple practice can do quite a bit, especially as you strive towards a cultivating more positive attitude.

Dali's Mood Metre - identifying how we feel gets us one step closer to understanding why we feel a certain way and how to control our reactions to situations. Become the creator of our life and not the victim.

Writing a journal can make us more aware (and self-aware) and help us detect unnoticed and/or unhealthy patterns in our thoughts and behaviours. It allows us to take more control over our lives and puts things in perspective. Furthermore, it can help us shift from a negative mindset to a more positive one, especially about ourselves (Robinson, 2017). All this because we:

  1. Carve out time to pause.
  2. Observe thoughts, actions, feelings–allow these to flow from our pen without thinking.
  3. Pin our observations and free-floating thoughts down on paper.

Now we have created something tangible. this feeds back to the brain. Now it is real, we can deal with it (problem), enjoy it (happy memories), understand it (hidden emotions),

The reason why writing is more effective than simply thinking or speaking these thoughts and/or emotions is because it is a physical act that engages the brain and the body. The physical act of writing with a pen slows the thinking process down, giving your child the opportunity to unravel their thoughts. When we think, our thoughts simply spin around in our head, always in motion. Journaling pins them down for us to read and learn from and inspire us and motivate us.

Positivity Journal for Kids - to nurture a positive mindset
Request your free Positivity Journal
What Is a Positivity Journal?

It is the positive aspect we shall be looking at with your child as opposed to free-flow journaling. This way they get into the good habit of journaling and develop a more positive attitude (additional exercises are available in the manual). The entries in their journal will take approximately 5-7 minutes a day.

Writing down all the positive aspects in your life is such a simple way to learn about your thought processes and track your progress as you undergo a period of change.

The areas your child will explore in this Positivity Journal are general enough for your child to feel comfortable sharing with you and their teachers and friends. This was done deliberately to get you all used to the idea. However, if they choose to continue their journaling practice once the 6 weeks are over, we/you must respect their privacy.

Gratitude Journaling - when we are grateful we are in a state of receivership

Various aspects of positivity explored in this introductory journal:

  1. Gratitude
  2. Good Things
  3. Happiness
  4. Mindfulness
  5. Balance
  6. Giving Back

Your child will have their very own Positivity Journal in which they will enter their thoughts and reflections every day as explained in the 6 respective sections. You may also wish to encourage them to carry a “gratitude stone”, make a “thank you” bracelet or something similar as a trigger to help them stay focused on the now, instead of worrying about what might be or dwelling on past worries.

Positivity Journal for Kids - to nurture a positive mindset
Discover more about your free Positivity Journal

I hope you will support your child throughout this exciting new journey. Naturally, I am happy to provide you with any research or information that supports or exemplifies this undertaking. Or you can purchase the exercise manual that contains fun craft and written exercises for each of the 6 areas above.

Harrogate Ladies College commissioned this pioneering tool to promote the well-being of their pupils
Harrogate Ladies College
Review From Harrogate Ladies College

The gratitude journals that Francesca created were incredibly beneficial for pupil wellbeing and they were particularly useful to help support pupils who were transitioning from year six to year seven. This is a crucial time in a young person’s life and therefore to start the PSHE year using these journals really reinforced some key themes that are necessary for development and managing the ‘self.’

Our schools are champions in the field of mental health and these journals really helped us to develop our unique approach. The positivity journal was written so that it developed every week, maximising pupil progress, both academically and emotionally. There were themes such as mindfulness, giving back and gratitude – something which helped them develop as a person and they took what they had learned in lessons and incorporated it into their everyday lives, with many going on to continue journaling after the lessons.

All the resources and supporting material was provided by Francesca, with clear and concise teacher notes, this meant that teachers were organised and had a clear vision of what to achieve by the end of the six-week course. The lessons were varied in style and activity and the pupils enjoyed engaging in the creative nature of the journals.

– Laura Brookes, Director of Wellness, HLC

The best way to fully understand and empathise with your child’s learning and journey is of course to start a Positivity Journal of your own! If you have any questions, please contact me.

GET YOUR FREE POSITIVITY JOURNAL

Positivity Journal for Kids - to nurture a positive mindset

“The Circus Is Coming To Town”

A Kiki & Friends Story. Book 2

“The Circus Is Coming To Town”

Suitable for early readers (4-7-year-olds)

The story delicately treats the issue of animal cruelty whilst continuing the message of inner strength. The friends’ time at the circus exemplifies the power of teamwork, as each character uses their individual skill and, of course, no story would be complete without Kiki’s ability to “kung fu” them to safety.

What’s it about?

Kiki agrees to go with her friends to the circus. She has never been before and there is already discomfort around the subject of animals being chained or tamed right from the start. But don’t worry even though the odds are stacked against them, they still come out on top. Not only do Kiki and her friends save the mistreated elephants who are made to perform, they also outwit and outrun the Farmies AGAIN!

Kiki and Friends at the circus
Kiki and Friends get clever at the circus

The second in the series of books: Kiki and Friends. Purr-fect for 4 to 7-year-olds who love to read stories with funny twists, clever plans and mischievous scrapes. Bonus: EleFunFact Quiz at the back of the book. Feline clever? Take the quiz and discover just how much of an elephant expert you really are.

Raising Awareness of Animal Cruelty Among Children

Kiki and Friends help children become more caring individuals:

  • caring about themselves: self-care, self-respect, health, fitness
  • caring about others: acts of kindness, respecting others, gratitude
  • caring about the environment: looking after world, learning about all living things
Can Kiki save the elephant mice from the eye patch cat at the circus?
The poor elephant mice at the circus = can Kiki save them!?

Why is this important?

Kiki wants children to think about those who do not have a voice so they can be their voice. Thinking of the needs of others helps children become less self-centred and selfish. It also broadens their understanding of the world around them.

65% of us believe that millenials (18 to 25-year-olds) are “selfish and “entitled”

There must be a reason for that! Given this rising trend of entitlement, we need to move our children’s focus away from solely their own needs. Selfishness leads to feeling:

  • like a victim
  • nobody cares about you
  • everyone else is against you
  • miserable and pessimistic
  • lonely and recluse

No parent wants that. Enter Kiki and Friends to help move your children into a place of giving and caring. Let your children feel part of something bigger than themselves – like the world and all the amazing animals in it.

HOW KIKI HELPS YOUR CHILDREN

Self Belief

Being More Confident

By now we’re all familiar with Kiki’s signature trademark of the red headband – a metaphor for self-confidence. When she puts it on she can do anything. When children lack confidence, they become self-absorbed, thinking others don’t like them or don’t want them. By helping others, like Kiki does, they will become more assured, more likely to work together with others and ask for help.

Seeing Your Weakness as a Strength

Believe in their own unique skills when faced with adversity or the seemingly impossible. Your weaknesses or “peculiar characteristics” can be turned into strengths – your unique secret weapon.

Piero did not take his accent being teased as a weakness, he turned it on its head and used it as a strength to help distract the cats and make their getaway plan a success.
Piero conducting

Piero did not take his accent being teased as a weakness, he turned it on its head and used it as a strength to help distract the cats and make their getaway plan a success. Kiki uses the size of the mice to their advantage (hiding in the wig, shooting them out of the canon) and Banjo turns his wobbly belly into an advantage as he dresses up as a belly dancer to escape.

The Power of Teamwork

Understand the value of loyalty and friendship, teamwork and self-belief.

In this story children will see how the friends work together to make the plan work. Kiki may do the superhero stuff and fight the eye-patch cat but her plan is based on using everyone’s skills: Banjo’s strength for the chains, Piero’s creativity and charm to distract the other cats, etc.

Become Aware of Others and Their Needs

Become aware of how animals are mistreated in a circus environment.

The story portrays how animal are chained in a circus. It transposes “human circus” into a “cat world circus”,  so it is not too direct of an attack as the circus can be a fun place for children. Nevertheless the “elephant mice” are shown to be miserable and chained. Raising awareness.

The Circus is Coming to Town - a Kiki and Friends book for early readers
Available now to purchase

None of the characters woke up that morning thinking they might have to sing or dance in front of a crowd, or get shot out of a canon but they did. And because they did, they saved the elephants that were being mistreated. Bu getting into action, by doing things you didn’t know you were capable of, you (your child) too can help make a difference in the lives of others (animals or people) who need you.

Great Things Happen When you Move Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Kiki and Friends save the elephants, not because they stayed at home….

SUMMARY OF THEMES AND STORY

Chapter 1                  Big News 

Excitement. The Circus. Learning how to read – personal development. The reader is introduced to the Cats Code of Conduct. Banjo announces the circus is coming – this is met with both excitement and also confusion as Kiki reveals the possibility it may be cruel to animals. Trying new things. Engaging in activities and new things.

Excited children queuing to get into the circus

Chapter 2                  The Big Top

New experiences. Colourful circus. Oh no the Farmies are back! Hiding. Scared little mouse. Suspense. Kiki looking after them. Discover miniature circus for cats. Incredible Circus of Mice. The adventure begins.

Chapter 3                  Mouse Mission

Each one of has unique skills. Military mission with Kiki and four mice. Evil eye-patch cat training scared mice. Saving the little “elephant mice”. Banjo is needed for his strength to free the mice. Winston and Churchill for their military skills in filling the mice out. Kiki’s fight scene with the ye-patch cat. Banjo helps by carrying him.

Being quick and clever can help save the day – no need for violence. The enactment of the plan gives Kiki the opportunity to show the readers just how clever and quick she is as she saves the day.

Chapter 4             Piero’s Mission

 Digging deep and achieving great things – Working Together. Defending against bullying. Piero entertains the cat audience. what he could have taken to heart as his weakness, his accent, which makes him different and stand out and be teased, he used as a strength as a skill, his secret weapon for helping the mice scape. His jubilant, upbeat nature made him think of laughter as a way to distract the cats. Use of music. The Music Man song.

Necessity Is The Mother Of All Creation

Piero did what he had to do

A little bit about bullying. Eye-patch cat bullied little mice because he was bigger than them.

Chapter 5             The Great Escape

Unique talents. Seeing strengths of others. Self belief: nothing is impossible. Everyone has their own unique talents. Banjo becomes a belly dancer, the mice are shot out of a canon and our heroine becomes Kiki the clown. She orchestrates their great escape using everyone’s unique skills. The small size of the mice to whisper to the elephants.

She is the saviour. Nothing is impossible. They are in danger but she still thinks of the happiness of others and takes the elephants with them on their escape. Now what do they do? Kiki always has a plan.

Chapter 6             Grandpa George

Learn about asking for help. First mention of animal cruelty.

Kiki plants the elephants outside Grandpa George’s house. He is a vet and loves animals. This takes her and her friends out of the loop. They won’t get told off for making the elephants leave the circus. Good job Kiki can write, right? Proof of her thinking skills, not just her fighting skills to save the day.

Learn a few more types of animals like bonobo. learn about elephants. Pachyderms. (In the cat quiz). First direct mention of animal cruelty. Baddie gets cuffed and taken away.

Yet again, by working together, this new group of friends has gone out of their comfort zone, enjoyed themselves and are waiting, like the reader, for their next adventure!

Kiki reading in the garden and Banjo running excitedly with leaflet for the circus

Further info about mistreatment of circus elephants

This part is not meant for children, but it explains why the author wanted to raise awareness on behalf of elephants. In some circuses:

  • The circus tears babies away from their mothers.
  • “Breaking” elephants really means “breaking their spirits.”
  • Trainers use bullhooks, ropes, and electric prods.
  • Training goes unmonitored by any agency of any kind.
  • Elephants spend most of their lives in chains.
  • Elephants travel in boxcars like these for up to 100 hours straight.
  • Elephants are beaten for their disobedience.

Source: PETA

DON’T LET NITS DESTROY YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM

Not one bit of me wanted to go near the lice on my son’s head. But I realised he was counting on me. I had to get over my fear to stop him feeling ashamed.

Head lice – Not so nice! Audio of blog post.

If I stayed paralysed with an expression of disgust smudged across my face, I was only going to do something no parent wants to do: pass on my fears and crush his self-esteem. I had to stop passing on my fears and start being a strong mother!

Parents must face their fears and do things they least want to. Because if they face their fears, their kids will too.

If you want to help your child be confident and not crush their self-esteem: get over yourself! You know kids pick up on our behaviour. Be a positive influence, not a weak role model.

One of the smallest creatures in the world represent one of parents’ biggest fears. The head louse!

Just thinking about lice is making me itch. I am reminded of all the times my partner’s children so kindly shared these little friends with me. Argh. I am squirming just at the memories and that was over 15 years ago. If these little blighters can still make me, a grown woman, react so negatively over a decade later, just imagine what they could be doing to your child’s self-esteem!

Don't be complacent about headlice. Take action. Comb, Wash, Disinfect and be CONSISTENT!
LICE TO-DO LIST
  • you have to take action, ignoring them won’t make them go away
  • make sure you check their hair regularly
  • make sure that you treat their hair immediately
  • yes, spend hours shampooing, combing and picking the little buggers out
  • check everyone in the house
  • wash all clothes and sheets and pillow cases and sofa covers (or disinfect)
  • repeat every day until they are gone
  • be consistent and relentless
Keep your enemies close

Find out all you can about your enemy. That way you are in a better position to defeat them. Learn about the lice. Find out what your child’s school is doing: policies, preventions, checks, etc. You can research with your child.

Back to me and my son: Even though I had to pretend not to want to heave every time I saw a blown up picture of these dreadful creatures, it was interesting learning about them. Taking positive action like this can help your child deal with the situation better. Understanding is the best course of action. Fear usually comes from stuff we don’t know about, so if we learn, we feel more empowered. Ignorance leaves us feeling weak.

Even your little princess could be the Trojan horse

They live on all kinds of hair. But I have to say that the kids with thick and/or long hair seem to get it more. I speak from experience from when I was at school and my best friend Melanie Walton kindly shared her infestation with me. I too had longish hair.

Facing our fears helps our kids deal with theirs. Nits may be yucky but crushing your child's self-esteem is a zillion times worse.

I was absolutely devastated when I got them as a young girl of 8. I felt like I was being punished. Somehow it violates you. I know that there are lots of little microorganisms living on us all the time – but hey, what you can’t see can’t bother you: out of sight out of mind. But lice, they may be small, but we can still see them.

Sorry, for the pause. Just had to have a good scratch.

Where was I? Oh yes, the visual is everything. The itching, well that’s kind of like mosquitoes, i.e. bearable. But seeing other things living off of you and having the audacity to use you as a breeding ground like miniatures from Scott Ridley’s Alien movie is a complete violation of your personal space and a black X on your personal hygiene. It doesn’t matter how you wrap it, or how often you are told that lice like both dirty and clean hair – having headlice ain’t nice! And I am fussy about who and what lives on me and shares my bed at night. Aren’t you?

Safeguard your child’s self-esteem

Whatever way you dice it, having lice will affect your children emotionally. Do not overreact. Let’s focus on your child’s self-esteem. Keep this intact. So talk to your children as positively as you can. Say that lice are just like other insects out in the world, like butterflies and ladybirds. They are small little animals going about their business. They think their hair is a nice place to live. But they are not pets and there are zillions of them in the world so it is okay to flush them down the sink.

LICE NOT-TO-DO LIST
  • scream
  • squirm
  • shriek
  • shrink away from your child
  • shrug off responsibility
  • cut all their hair off
  • throw the comb away after use – stay armed, there is usually more than one outbreak at school

Remember you are the adult. You have to put the brave face on first and get a hold of the situation. You may not have asked for them, and the lice most likely piggybacked from some other child into your clean household, but you are still responsible for dealing with the situation.

Not one bit of me wanted to touch my son's head lice. But I had to get over my fear to stop him feeling ashamed. Don't pass on your fears as a parent.

Taking action is the biggest thing you can do for your child – and you! I’m not suggesting it will be a quality parent-child time, but there is a kind of bonding that goes on as you both strive for the same mission: to oust the louse! Your child could also check your hair. See the bright side: you are doing battle together, and it’s the chance for you to show your strengths as a parent and to support your child in their time of need.

You could also listen to Storytime with Kiki as you de-louse! Be brave! Have fun!