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 for FREE ebook version).

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
Claim your free e-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.

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.

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!

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!

How Reading To Your Child Will Make Them More Successful In Life

Once upon a time there was a little girl…

Reading fairy tales or stories to children has been a longstanding tradition – one we don’t even need reminding of, until now perhaps with an overload of TV and screen time. Parents and grandparents used to rock their children to sleep with a story or lullaby or fairytale. Now this tradition is in danger of being replaced with half an hour of cartoons before bed or a session on the Playstation before dinner. Choosing not to read to your child and opting to place them in front of a screen is forcing your child into a state of isolation.

Prefer to listen to this article? Approx. 11 minutes

Despite all the evidence of how detrimental passive time in front of the TV is (e.g. the proof that children aged 8 months to 2 years learn 17% less vocabulary every hour they spend in front of the screen), millions of parents still dump their children in front of the TV, in front of moving shapes and “educational” video games. All this in the belief that they are expanding the intellectual abilities of their precious offspring. Now I’m not saying that parents should be focusing on getting their kids into university or college when they are still sitting in their high chair. My aim is not to throw children into the competitive arena early, rather to give them a strong foundation. This is achieved through

  • routine: with stories consistently read at a certain time,
  • the right kind of attention: having their parent’s full attention and physical closeness
  • and stimulus: the book itself will awaken their imagination and not feed it passively like the TV.

Why kids who are read to are likely to be more successful

The kids most likely to succeed in tomorrow’s economy will not be those tired souls worn out from competition at an early age forced to memorise data. Instead it will be the creative thinkers, capable of solving problems and having independent thoughts. Reading to children is not about teaching kids to read, it’s about sharing stories with children. Reading to your child opens up a world of possibilities and new thoughts in their developing minds.

I started reading to my eldest when he was just 14 days old. For some mothers that may seem incredibly early and to others it may seem rather late – believe it or not.

Which camp do you fall into?

Here are some facts on how reading to your child can help them grow into successful adults. These might sway you to start reading sooner than you’d planned!

Benefits of reading to your children

Numerous studies show that reading aloud provides your child with ways of effectively communicating that positively influence their psychic and cognitive development. What does this mean in real terms for your child?

  • forming a mindset for accelerated learning in future years
  • anchoring the habit of reading, which makes them calmer and attentive
  • building a strong foundation for your relationship with your child

In addition to the above, reading stories to your child from a young age has a decisive influence on their comprehension of language and the diversity of their vocabulary. This stands them in good stead when they start school, e.g. helps them better understand written text. Plus let’s not forget it is fun to listen to stories. The experience gives them deep sensorial and emotional pleasure, especially if they are snuggled up to you or on your lap. This is why I am a firm believer in developing the habit of reading to preschool children.

Benefits of reading to your child:
- routine: with stories consistently read at a certain time, 
- the right kind of attention: having their parent's full attention and physical closeness
- and stimulus: the book itself will awaken their imagination and not feed it passively like the TV.

My mother thought my brother could read at 2 years since he was saying the right sentences and turning the pages at the right time… miracle boy? Well kind of. He had memorised the entire book. Stories stimulate a child’s memory. They remember the sentences and correct you if you read it wrong! A great way to actively exercise that big muscle in their head!

The following will help you read to your child

If you want to give your child a great start in life and set them off on the right page for success at school, here are a few tips to ensure your reading sessions are successful and effective:

What kind of books to read to your child

For younger children you could follow this general timetable:

  • A few weeks old: lullabies and nursery rhymes – sing or recite these before bedtime, make it a sort of ritual that sends your little one into the world of dreams.
  • 2 months: start to show them large images by placing them at a distance of no more than 30 cm from their face.
  • 6 months: since they are in the grab it and eat it phase choose tough, non-toxic books with thick pages and bright colours.
  • 9 months: your child will be able to pass the book from one hand to the other, start pointing and, if they see you do it, they will try to turn the pages.
  • 1 year: they will hold the books in their own hands, turn the pages, so choose content with ‘everyday’ actions (eating, sleeping, playing) and animals. As for the contents, rhyming stories always intrigue and delight them most.
  • 1 1/2 years: now you will “hear” the fruits of your labour as they remember what has been read to them and anticipates the sentences. Children mostly like books that talk about animals (especially if you imitate the noises they make!), other children and everyday activities they are familiar with.
  • 2 years: the book is now part of their play toolbox – they will carry them around, play at being teacher and use them in their role playing games.
  • 3+: by now you are both pros at this storytime stuff! Encourage your child to sound out words and read the stories back to you. Carry on reading to them until they naturally read by themselves.
  • 8+: at this age I used to “assist” my son with his reading. Some of the books he wanted to read were a little beyond his abilities. I used to read a couple of pages, then he would read one. We would alternate. I’d help explain a couple of the big words, but not all. I found this gave him confidence. After a few months of this, he was off on his own with Tolkien’s Hobbit!
Empowering and fun stories for kids - Kiki and Friends

As for what books to choose – well you’ll find that Kiki and Friends offer fun, spirited and yet wholesome and progressive stories your child will love at any age. Their life lessons and the variety of characters are useful for your child’s emotional development, and Kiki of course is a firm model for self-confidence and positivity.

If in doubt for younger kids, classic fairy tales or fables are always a safe choice. They help them to project and express doubts, fears and emotions.

Top tip – read stories you enjoy too. Children like to have the same story told several times in a row, so it helps if you like listening to it too!

When to read to your children

Young children need to have structure in their day. They flourish with set times, not because it turns them into robots, but because it gives them stability and reassurance. This is something they need if they are to develop other areas of learning and understanding. You can ensure their basic needs are met and they feel safe by setting well-defined times throughout their day. Example:

  • breakfast
  • play time
  • lunch
  • read
  • nap
  • snack
  • walk / outdoor time
  • dinner
  • bath time
  • read
  • bed time …

You can even set aside a time for reading after meals or before sleep, when you want to encourage the child to develop an emotional state of calm and tranquility.

By dedicating a particular time of day to read to your child, e.g. before bedtime, after meals, in the afternoon between games, while waiting at the train station/doctor’s/dentist, etc.…. creates the habit of listening and boosts the desire to learn to read by themselves.

How to read to your children

Reading should be a magical moment. Your child should have your complete attention. They love this. You are there ready to satisfy their need for closeness, curiosity and thirst for knowledge.

Use your facial expressions, tone of voice, body posture to reassure them all is well as you convey the content of the book. You walk hand-in-hand to discover a whole new world.

The way in which you tell the story, rather than the content, is especially important for younger children. Onomatopoeic sounds like a train’s choo-choo, a dog’s woof-woof, or a car’s brum brum can make your child laugh – and we all know the benefits of laughter for your child’s health.

Encourage your child to participate. Help them understand the written text by modulating your voice and using the right expressions in your face. As soon as they are able to answer, ask them questions about what you’ve read in order to stimulate their curiosity and emotional participation in story.

Let’s keep them motivated as early independent readers and keep up their confidence by helping them read more complex story books (see point 8+ above).

If you want to give your child a great start in life and set them off on the right page for success at school, here are a few tips to ensure your reading sessions are successful and effective.

Where to read to your child

Choose a welcoming and cosy setting that is your reading space (this was helpful with my second son who was not such a keen listener – we made it our special time).

Ask them to choose the book. This gets them used to going to bookstores and libraries where there are lots of colourful books to choose from.

And if you’re not sure of your own reading skills, you can still sit with them and listen to audio versions as you turn the pages together or join Kiki at storytime. Either way, reading with your child is a step in the right direction towards their happily ever after.

Free online author readings of Kiki's adventure stories. Perfect for entertaining kids under 7 years old. Come along and make yourself comfy.

5 Reasons why stories are good for your child’s health

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Why stories are good for oyur child’s health

The power of storytelling

We may watch a lot of movies and box sets, but our underlying drive is still the same as it was when we sat around the campfire or listened to granny recount tales of the old days as she rocked rhythmically back and forth in her rocking chair: We love being entertained. We love a good story. We want to be surprised, shocked, elated, intrigued and taken by the hand into a world more fantastical than the one we live in every day.

People have been sharing stories since the beginning of time, even before we had a spoken language.

Paul Zak, PhD, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University in California

The format may have changed thanks to modern technology, but our impulse is the same.

Listening to stories goes beyond entertaining your child

What many of us don’t realise is that listening to stories is actually a much more rewarding and enriching experience than flaking out in front of a screen. Why? Because we use our imagination. By applying our own experiences and thoughts to the story, we flavour it with our own being, we make it our very own. This is something Netflix cannot do – not yet anyway. We make stories our own unique experience. We colour them with our own vision, memories, smells and tastes. This not only makes the content of the story much more impactful and memorable in our brain as we are actively engaged in the process instead of simply passively imbibing the message as we gawp at the screen stuffing popcorn in our mouths, it is also makes it more personal.

5 Ways Stories Improve Your Child’s Well-being

Wow! I hear you cry, how can listening to stories be good for my child’s health?

Stories are the way we understand and make sense of the world we find ourselves in.

Clare Patey, Director of the Empathy Museum

How does listening to stories improve your child’s wellbeing?

When a child listens to a spellbinding story that captivates them, moves them, and transports, it sets off a sequence of events in the brain and body:

  1. A sense of belonging – First, their heart rate increases as their attention is piqued. As they continue listening, their brain is prompted to secrete oxytocin, the hormone known for its ability to promote bonding. Now the author is speaking directly to them- silently inside their head. The author provides the words; the child adds the images.
  2. A state of relaxation – This moves them into a state of relaxation. When they are relaxed, their blood pressure lowers, the knots in their stomach loosen, and they are distracted from worrying thoughts. Your mind is focused, engaged, no matter whether the story is happy or sad. This feeling continues after the story has finished. The relaxation effect may last up to 30 minutes after the story has ended. You were connected to another world. This connection with the characters provides a space outside of ourselves. They are open to possibilities instead of constricted in their worrying thoughts.
  3. Working through their problems – If they empathise with the content or the character(s), this can help them work through their own problems. We may even cry openly. It has a cathartic, which is very beneficial and healing.
  4. Laughter. I’m sure you’re familiar with the old saying: “laughter is the best medicine” – well it doesn’t just relax you and reduce stress. According to research, laughter has numerous positive effects, from promoting longevity to boosting the immune system. There are plenty of giggles to be had with Kiki and friends, especially with bumbling Banjo around!
  5. Inspiration, a channel for expressing themselves – Great stories and role models can inspire your child to strive become a better person. If they identify with the protagonist or other characters in the story, they can identify a new purpose or dream. This uplifts them. The character’s journey gives meaning to inner desires that children find hard to express in words.

Kiki’s stories help children become stronger.

Short stories read by children’s author, Francesca Hepton on YouTube

Because Kiki is all about confidence and self-belief, her stories bolster the image children have of themselves. They believe in themselves more. This strengthens their character and resolve. It moves them away from disempowering influences of pier pressure and comparison. Listening to Kiki’s stories is doubly beneficial for your child’s health.

Here are some of the ways Kiki and her (metaphorical) red headband of confidence can help:

  • Children relax through laughter and intrigue with plot twists and unexpected turn of events.
  • Kiki helps children identify with the characters. A wide selection – from the bumbling to the brave and clever.
  • Kiki helps children understand important life messages like being honest, as she shows that being deceitful leads to complications and hurts others (A Case of Mistaken Identity).
  • Kiki’s stories transport them to a world that is safe. They are wholesome but also spirited, progressive stories.

Inspiring self-belief, reinforcing the beauty and power of friendship with funny scrapes and mischief along the way, whichever way you look at it, Storytime with Kiki is beneficial for your child’s wellbeing. And the best part is – they just have to sit back, listen and enjoy! And you could put your feet up with them and enjoy the health benefits of listening to a good story.

Happy Parents Day. You Deserve It

If you prefer to listen to this post, press play:

Golden parenting tips and free ebook for busy moms

If ever there was a year when parents needed to be celebrated it is this one. After all the new challenges of making your children wash their hands a zillion times a day, mastering zoom, setting up an office at home, not going out, doing your children’s homework, being friend deprived, having no social life, putting on an extra few pounds, getting really bad roots, running out of toilet paper and endless homebaking – the list is endless. You have gone through home hell, it is time to step back and bask in your glory.

Parents of the world, I salute you. You are amazing

FM Hepton – fellow parent
Free guide for parents on Global Parent Day

The United Nations set up this Global Day of Parents so that we may appreciate all parents around the world and I couldn’t have put it better myself:

Designated by the General Assembly in 2012, Global Day of Parents provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents for their “selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.”

Parents of the world, I salute you. You are amazing

We are always telling the kids how amazing they are, but what about you? Who is witness to all your hard work and sacrifices? Oh yes, the partner that has to go through hell with you. The one you loved until the littl’uns came along and sucked up all your romantic time together! Am I being too harsh? Is it not quite like that for you? Well maybe the witnesses to your hard work could be your judgemental parents – or in-laws – always ways around with a helpful: “That’s not how I did it and my little Johnny turned out fine.” Or “Why don’t you peel the potatoes like this, it saves time. What!? You don’t boil your chicken carcass!” Then comes the condescending tut, tut or rolling of the all-knowing eyes.

It is a wearisome lonely road at times as a parent.

That’s what makes it so nice that the UN have dedicated a whole day to recognising your efforts. But wait! I hear you cry. “My kids are witness to my efforts and sacrifices.” Oh yes, sorry I should mention those little tweens who think they are grown ups filled with a merry-go-round of hormones who bless you with their mood swings for at least 3 years. Or maybe the teenager who doesn’t quite see you as human and blames you for all their hang-ups. Now you know why they say: “Enjoy them while they are young. These early years go by in a flash!” Dealing with dirty bums and orange food paste splattered on your face and walls is nothing compared to the psychological dramas that await you after they hit “teendom”, which by the way can be as early as 8 years old!

For my part I consider myself blessed. I am truly grateful for my two teenage boys. Yes we’ve had our ups and downs, but we love and respect each other. As a single mother it was hard at times, but I really feel like it was also easier.

Free ebook providing 4 ways to help loving parents manage their child's anxiety whilst balancing their work and homelife
Contact me for your free copy

Single parents – harder or easier?

It’s not always harder to be a single parent – despite what the media says. Here are some of my humorous/brief Pros and Cons:

Pros to being a single parent
  • As a single parent you don’t have to consult someone else on stuff like schools, religion, bedtimes, which toothpaste brand to buy.
  • There is no one else for your child to pit you against.
  • You can manage your own time and budget.
  • No compromising. The bed is all yours. You can do what you want!
  • You can follow your own dreams. (Not everyone has a supportive partner!)
  • Your children grow up faster and understand responsibility sooner.
  • No waste-of-time, annoying obligatory dinners and holidays with the in-laws!
Cons to being a single parent
  • It might be nice for you to have somebody around to consult and ask their opinion – for the big decisions and the little ones.
  • The children may lack another parent’s opinion or the male/female role model.
  • If you don’t like managing your own budget, you may wish you had a partner (personally I feel every parent should know their financial circumstances – it’s empowering).
  • You might find yourself doing all the chores. Read my guide – start-em young!
  • Having your child being more aware and mature can be a con for some parents who want to preserve the innocence of childhood.

The above was not meant to be an exhaustive list. Just a lighthearted bird’s eye view to give you a different perspective on things. I love being a single mum. But then again, I’ve never liked constraints. Guess that’s why I’ve always enjoyed working for myself too.

Francesca has always amazed me as she was the first woman I’d seen breastfeed while typing her reports. She’s an inspiration. A strong role model for all women.

Sam Brice – mother of 3

It doesn’t have to be hard for you either. I’m sharing some of my insider tips with you right here:

Free ebook providing 4 ways to help loving parents manage their child's anxiety whilst balancing their work and homelife
Contact me for your free parenting guide

My Golden Pillars to Easier Parenting

I have been running my own business since 2004. I started working from home when my first son was born. 20 years ago. When I realised after a year I couldn’t give the company what they needed as it involved travelling around Europe (afterall, I was the European Sales and Marketing Manager!) I knew I wanted to be at home with my kids, not dropping them off at nursery, working and seeing them when I was tired. So I made it work. It wasn’t easy, but I love my sons – that’s why I made it work. I got to enjoy being with my children whilst being the sole breadwinner as well.

My golden rules are:

  • You are in charge of the situation
  • Routine, routine, routine
  • Exercise daily outside (you and the kids)
  • Include children in your household chores
  • Specific times for work – never overlap fun and work
  • Do not drink (alcohol) every night
  • Minimise or cut out sugar and processed foods (you and the kids)
  • Sleep when they sleep
  • Plan weekly meals and shopping lists

All of these must be respected. If you don’t, the harmony of the household starts to slip. You can’t just cherrypick from the list.

If you wake up waiting for the end of the day, for a drink, for that series on the TV, then this guide is for you. Enjoy your day. Enjoy time with your children. No need to dread it. Get the guide.

If you’d like my FREE guide to learn about the 4 pillars to Calmer Parenting, contact me: Type: CALMER PARENTING GUIDE PLEASE

It contains

  1. The essential ingredients for destressing (not distressing!)
  2. 4 techniques to keep the balance in your home and mind
  3. Example daily routine for single parents who work at home

Get your guide to easier parenting here – even if you’re a couple you will find it useful! Strength in numbers! It’s my gift to you as one parent to another.

Meet Kiki the Kung-Fu Cat

Kiki was inspired by my cat. She was small, polite and sweet and she made me laugh. I wanted to immortalise her amazing abilities for my children in the form of fun adventure stories.

Kik's stories are ideal for 4-7 yrs old. She is a voice for those looking to grow in self-confidence. Which she uses in times of uncertainty, to outwit the baddies. She’s a strong beacon of calm, reliable hope.

She represents the values of kindness, selflessness and has extraordinary powers for one so small. Kiki is a voice for those looking to grow in self-confidence. Which she uses in times of uncertainty, to outwit the baddies. She’s a strong beacon of calm, reliable hope.

Meet Kiki the Kung-Fu Cat

A Day in the Life of Kiki

Morning

She wakes up before everyone else does and before the sun comes up so she can do her training.

First she meditates to find focus and calm then she exercises to remain quick and strong.

Kiki relaxing by the window

She has breakfast with Banjo helping him to be healthy because it makes him feel good and Banjo loves eating, so Kiki makes sure his breakfast nourishes his body.

They have fruit, yoghurt and sometimes a smoothie or boiled eggs, they always have milkeo.

Afternoon

Then they go for a walk or spend time reading and painting with Dali.

One thing is for sure they always end up on adventure before the day is over.

Sometimes it’s when they visit, Allan and Poe it’s when they join in with activities and events in the village of sleepy Meadow. It can also happen when they are helping others.

Kiki learning

On quiet days, she will write in her journal about her experiences and ideas. She likes to glue in tickets, flowers and bits n bobs. Banjo will join her and so does Dali. He paints pictures to go with her journal. Banjo cuts them out and sticks them in; if Piero is not busy taking a bath or doing his hair, he will also come by and sing with his guitar or tell a story.

Evening

In the evening after Kiki has finished her dinner,  one of her favourite past times is to watch the sunset. They might play charades or chess.

Kiki and Friends going for a walk

Then they will sit around the fire and laugh about all the fun they had that day, and give thanks that they and their friends are safe.

Welcome to the Kiki-verse!

Here you will find out all about the characters in the Kiki and Friends series of books set in Sleepy Meadow, a quintessentially British village where nothing really happens – unless you’re a cat!

(See below for the map)

Discover what makes them special, what makes them unique, their strengths and weaknesses. With such a diverse range of characters, your child is sure to empathise and bond with at least one! I use them to deliver messages that children are often struggling with. By bonding with them, your child is able to work through their own questions and dichotomies by seeing how the character works through their situation.

This simultaneous detachment from themselves and attachment to someone or in this case some-cat, that represents their thoughts and worries, helps them express themselves – as you know, it is not easy to put your feelings into words, even as adults!

Using stories and characters is a powerful way to help children understand important principles. Kiki’s stories touch on quite a few, here are some examples:

  • the importance of honesty
  • the value of true friendship
  • respect for yourself and others
  • acceptance of people’s differences
  • belief in yourself and your abilities
  • acknowledging your weaknesses
  • using your uniqueness as your strength
  • the world around us and our role in it

Here you will meet both the good the bad and the funny.

Kiki and Friends adventure stories

Simply click on the name of the character you want to find out more about.

  • Kiki
  • Banjo
  • Piero
  • Dali
  • Lord Byron
  • Edgar
  • Allan
  • Poe
  • Winston + Churchill
  • Tiny + Titch
  • The Major
  • Grandpa George
  • John + Jane
The Farmies from Murk Farm

Well what did you think, that it was going to be all unicorns and fairy dust in the village of Sleepy Meadow?! No way! You gotta have the bad guys. This is the balance in life. The yin and the yang. Having opponents gives us something to push against, push us to excel, get us to question our moral compass, to move outside our comfort zone and think outside the box. Plus the Farmies are a great excuse for thrilling escapades and exciting adventures!

  • Piccasso
  • Miro
  • Percy
  • Byshhe
  • Shelley
  • Cezanne
  • Rat 1 + Rat 2
  • Eye-patch Cat

Welcome to Sleepy Meadow

Our protagonist lives at Blueberry Cottage and the baddie group are from the outskirts of the village in the appropriately named Murk Farm.

Cottontail Valley is village nearby (where Edgar, Allen and Poe’s Great Aunt Mildred lives).

Storytime with Kiki

Storytime with Kiki for 3-7-year-olds

Entertaining, Educational, Empowering Stories every Monday to Thursday

As a children’s author I would like to “do my bit” for the families of Britain. The best way I can think of is to entertain the “mini troops” with stories from my books – PLUS activities based on the stories. So, I ventured out into the technological minefield of social media and set up a Facebook group where you can come join me with your children: Storytime with Kiki.

I am throwing the doors open to a storytelling session with Kiki every day from Monday to Thursday from 3pm to 4pm. I will do my best to deliver these like a virtual Jackanory-style story time session with images. If I could just tame my own cat to sit on my lap and look cute whilst I read…ha ha, not likely.

Piero supping milkeo

What are the stories about?

The heroine is a cat called Kiki. She is an ordinary cat with extraordinary powers whenever she puts her red headband on (metaphor for self-confidence). She is based off my cat who looks ridiculous when she magically scares off all cats by flailing her paws around like a contortionist! Naturally such a cat as Kiki has a lot of adventures with her friends and is a wonderful role model for children. I have therefore used my stories for conveying empowering and educational messages to our young children.

Timetable for books:

3-6-year-olds

Reading of Kiki the Kung Fu Kitten – Rhyming illustrated book

Reading of Jack’s Roar – Rhyming illustrated book

6-9-year-olds

A Case of Mistaken Identity

An embarrassing case of mistaken identity, a cat that won’t leave, and a plan filled with disguises and thrills.

“The Circus is Coming to Town”

Big surprises in the Big Top for our fun-loving cats. Kiki leads her friends through not just one mission impossible, not two, but three! A story filled with tension, trapezes and tricks. 

“A Day at the Races” 18-21 May

Wacky Races revisited. Down on the racetrack, Banjo discovers his inner champion.

“The Major” 1-4 June

A doddery old cat has more up his sleeve than the Farmies bargained for. And Kiki and Banjo discover the rewards of being kind to others.

Free online author readings of Kiki's adventure stories.
Perfect for entertaining kids under 7 years old.
Come along and make yourself comfy.

If you would like more details on a specific event please let me know. Naturally it is best if the children watch the first one to better understand the origins of the characters and story, although each book does work on its own as well.

Confessions of an author

Confession 1: I had intended starting with the 6 to 9-year-olds but the teachers are still on virtual break until the 20th of April, and they asked me to defer. So as not to disappoint, we’ll “warm up” with the books for younger children.

Confession 2: I am not here just to help entertain and educate your children, but to offer you a little respite as a parent (or educator struggling to find resources). My children are in their late teens now. As a single mother working from home for 15 years, I genuinely relate to the challenges involved in getting everything done without feeling like a peeled and baked potato at the end of the day! Use and abuse this hour of wholesome fun for your kids and, perhaps more importantly, a rest for YOU!

Join me and Kiki on Facebook every day at 3pm starting Monday the 13th of April.

Join the fun on Facebook at 3pm Monday to Thursday: Storytime with Kiki

A Positive Start for Kids

We all want to give our children a happy healthy start in life. With the help of Kiki and Friends, you can do just that.

Overview of the course

This course will help you teach young children essential life skills, become more self-confident, more aware of others and challenge them to grow.

It will walk you through 10 fundamental life skills essential for empowering children to become more positive and happy.

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.

Objectives

This course equips educators/parents with tools for children to develop a positive mindset to become the best they can be and be proud of it.

Content

There is a section for each of the life skills and each section will start with an explanation of the life skill and how it can be of benefit to the child.

After this there are two tasks for the child to complete. The child’s progress must be monitored and reviewed at the end of each section.

10 Life Skills

  1. – Courtesy
  2. – Self-control
  3. – Courage
  4. – Respect
  5. – Honesty
  6. – Commitment
  7. – Gratitude
  8. – Self-discipline
  9. – Goal-setting
  10. – Persistence
A Positive Start - helping you raise healthy, happy kids

LEARNING THROUGH FUN

  • Learning with Kiki – illustrated children’s books

– for 3 to 6-year-olds

– for 7 to 9-year-olds

LEARNING THROUGH ACTION

  • Personal Advancement Manual

– for 3 to 6 year-olds

– for 7 to 9-year-olds

Ending with a CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT

learning with kiki and friends

Learning outcomes

After working through the manuals and various educational aids, you will be able to help children adopt the following skills/midests/abilities:

  • respect for others
  • self-respect
  • courteous and polite behaviour
  • a sense of belonging and community
  • brave to be themselves
  • courage to resist peer pressure
  • tolerance of differences
  • managing stress and anxiety
  • setting smart goals
  • desire to achieve
  • self-confidence
  • happier disposition
  • more positive mindset
  • attitude of gratitude
  • and much, much more

Resources

1. Explanatory videos for each section/lecture

2. PDF downloads

– A Positive Start Manual (with the 10 Life Skills)

– Personal Advancement Manual (for 5 to 7-year-olds)

– Personal Advancement Manual (for 7 to 9-year-olds)

3. Educational aids:

– ebook A Case of Mistaken Identity by Francesca Epton

– Narrated video of “Kiki the Kung Fu Kitten” by Francesca Hepton

– Craft activities (colouring in, paper plate faces, etc.)

– Learning with Kiki (for 5 to 6-year-olds)

– Learning with Kiki (for 7 to 9-year-olds)

4. Certificate of Achievement

Sign up now for some FUN and ACTION: two of the most powerful ways to learn. 

Click here for the course