A magic combo to help children avoid mental health issues
Martial Arts and Reading
Welcome all bookworms, and fans of martial arts. You may find this an unusual combination: reading and a school of learning traditionally associated with combat. However, it transpires that people are not fully aware of just how much Martial Arts can offer, despite all the Karate Kid movies. Perhaps more importantly the general public does not know MA advocates seeks first and foremost to avoid conflict and violence.
What reading and Martial Arts have in common
We all know that reading a good book has a positive psychological impact on children, especially if it’s done on a regular basis. The whole process improves their ability to concentrate, feeds their imagination, stimulates thought, helps them develop an independent thought process, deepens their need and thirst for knowledge. In much the same way, the training required in Martial Arts reinforces the importance of being disciplined and focused. Most children excel when they have a goal to reach. Once they learn this new skill or technique, they feel a sense of accomplishment, feeding that yearning to learn more, to develop.
Frightening statistics we can’t ignore
The statistics concerning the state of our children’s health in the UK is alarming. With waiting lists stretching over 10 months for 8-year-old with mental health issues, surely the alarm bells must be ringing in everyone’s ears
One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed in 2017
Specific mental disorders were grouped into four broad categories: emotional, behavioural, hyperactivity and other less common disorders. Emotional disorders were the most prevalent type of disorder experienced by 5 to 19 year olds in 2017 (8.1%)
Rates of mental disorders increased with age. 5.5% of 2 to 4 year old children experienced a mental disorder, compared to 16.9% of 17 to 19 year olds. Caution is needed, however, when comparing rates between age groups due to differences in data collection. For example, teacher reports were available only for 5 to 16 year olds. Please refer to the Survey Design and Methods Report for full details
Data from this survey series reveal a slight increase over time in the prevalence of mental disorder in 5 to 15 year olds (the age-group covered on all surveys in this series). Rising from 9.7% in 1999 and 10.1% in 2004, to 11.2% in 2017
Emotional disorders have become more common in five to 15 year-olds – going from 4.3% in 1999 and 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017. All other types of disorder, such as behavioural, hyperactivity and other less common disorders, have remained similar in prevalence for this age group since 1999
How this combo can help fight mental health issues
The magical combination of reading and Martial Arts goes even further in a child’s personal development. Both practices improve children’s ability to concentrate on a task and their endurance as they see it through to its completion. Perhaps the the biggest benefit is their boost in self-confidence:
from gaining new skills and knowledge
being part of a positive and engaging story
feeling empowered and inspired
being a part of something
Start incorporating these two activities in your child’s life today. Kiki and Friends stories can help lift your children’s spirits and sense of worth. Plus they are a hoot to read!
Children’s author, Francesca Hepton, is teaming up with local Martial Arts centre AIM to help raise awareness for National Children’s Day on the 12th of May 2019. Together we’re taking steps to help children be healthy inside and out. Come and show your support or enter our prize draw by pre-ordering the latest Kiki + Friends book.
NCDUK Party 12 May 2019
A Positive Start for Children
10 amWelcome introduction – brief talk on the benefits of Martial Art for children’s health + the latest book release from Francesca Hepton promoting children’s self-confidence through her kung fu kitten in the story: “A Case of Mistaken Identity”
10.30 am – Face painting – transform into your favourite big cat
10.30 am – Pin the headband on the Kitty – a new take on an old game. If you’re not getting your face painted, test your skills of sense and direction and maybe win a prize
11 am – Earn your headband. Master Hudson will put children to the test in a fun mini martial arts session where each child can earn their own headband.
11.30 am – Sleeping lions. A little quiet time before cake. Prizes for the best sleeping lions.
11.45 am – Cake made by fabulous local baker and closing thank you circle.
11.45 am – Enter our amazing raffle. Prizes announced on the 25th of May.
Simply pre-order a copy of “A Case of Mistaken Identity” and send your amazon receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org – enter the name of your local martial arts centre in the subject. so you get the right prizes!
How Martial Arts can help
Practising martial arts encourages children to look after their bodies and their minds. Every bit of training, every drop of sweat, every effort your child makes as they train reinforces the importance of remaining disciplined until they have accomplished the goal. The goal can be a new skill, balance or technique. Everything to help them develop and flourish with a focus on:
SELF-CONFIDENCE – like Kiki!!
Giving our children the best possible start for a healthy and bright future doesn’t have to be difficult. Our bodies and minds are connected, meaning that what we do to improve our physical wellbeing can help our mental and emotional wellbeing too.
Being fit helps us to feel better in ourselves, focus on what we want to do and deal with difficult times.
You can help them do this! Introduce them to this positive training and/or encourage them to read books like “A Case of Mistaken Identity” that reinforce the message or self-belief. Check out the message of the book here.
Children deserve the best start
We know from working in schools that children in every class have diagnosable mental health conditions and many more struggle with challenges from bullying to bereavement. Whether you’re a parent, guardian or concerned adult, you can get involved and help us reach as many children as possible.
Come to our book launch party at AIM Martial Arts or find one near you. If you can’t come along, show your support and buy a copy of this amazing book. Send your amazon receipt to email@example.com (enter your local Martial Arts centre / town in the subject) and we’ll automatically enter you in our raffle.
An embarrassing case of mistaken identity, a cat that won’t leave, and a plan filled with disguises and thrills. Join Kiki, Banjo, and friends as they go on an adventure that you’ll never want to end.
Are Kiki’s amazing powers enough to save them from the clutches of the evil Farmies? Is Banjo cat enough to tell the truth? Will Allen be pink forever? Join them on their adventure to find out. This hilarious yet touching story is sure to bring the super-cat out in YOU too.
The first in the series of books: Kiki and Friends. Purr-fect for 5 to 7-year-olds who love to read stories with funny twists, clever plans and mischievous scrapes. Bonus: Fun Cat Fact Quiz in every book. Feline clever? Take the quiz and discover just how much of a cat expert you really are.
Promoting the benefits of self-belief from the teachings of martial arts
If you check this out it will basically save you from having to read it all – and then make you want to read it! Well, that is if you’re a child in years or at heart!
WHO THIS IS FOR
Are you a parent, carer or guardian of a child? Then you might already be aware of the toll modern society is taking on our youngsters.
Here are some shocking statistics (England, 2017, source NHS)).
1 in every 8 children (aged between 5 and 19) in England had a mental disorder in 2017 – that is 12.8% of our young people.
Emotional disorders have become more common in 5 to 15-year-olds – going from 4.3% in 1999 to 5.8% in 2017.
Preschool: 1 in every 18 preschool children had at least one mental disorder in 2017 – that is 5.5%, that is too high.
5.6% of young women aged 17 to 19 suffered from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
25.5% of 11 to 16-year-olds with a mental disorder had self-harmed or attempted suicide
For more information on the state of our children’s mental health you can read more here.
Not only are our youngsters suffering from mental illnesses, studies have identified other areas of concern – some of which are connected:
have low self-worth
have trouble focusing
Q&A: HOW KIKI CAN HELP OUR CHILDREN?
Kiki will help move your child from a place of isolation and insecurity to being a confident, happy and healthy individual ready to live a full life.
Q. You state that your goal is to help children believe in themselves. How can Kiki help instil self-belief when reading “A Case of Mistaken Identity”?
A. The story shows how a small unassuming girl-cat can take on any situation and use her patience, mind and martial arts skills to help her friends and outwit the bad guys – without aggression. Plus, because she’s a personified cat, the negative self-image issues of weight, etc. young girls are often victim of do not come into play here.
Q. You touch upon some important values in the book and claim the book can help children understand how important it is to tell the truth, the value of loyalty and friendship, teamwork and self-belief. Just how does it do this?
A. In this first book, young readers they will witness how the characters found strength in solidarity, by telling the truth, versus chaos, indecision and hurt when they were divided and not honest. Plus, the books will accompany them from a young age with the illustrated versions, making the characters a trusted part of their world. They will then empathise strongly with the characters as they grow up.
Q. What made you choose martial arts? Why do you think this should be promoted among youngsters when it is a form of fighting?
A. When I was growing up, I was always in awe of the likes of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. What they achieved with their concentration and physical abilities was amazing. They were like real-life superheroes to me. I experienced Martial Arts first hand rather late in life when I was seeking to recover from a dark period in my life. It gave me confidence, discipline and reward. I was rewarded with my own progress and the values it instilled in me. Even more-so perhaps by the respect and attitude of the youngsters who also trained with me. From the ninja tots to the moody teenagers, once they were on that dojo they felt empowered, they moved like well-oiled machines, showed deference and respect to others at all times and were constantly seeking to better themselves. They carried that drive and confidence off the dojo as well. With parents being increasingly busy at work and the digital world creeping into the lives of our youngsters, the framework and teachings of Martial Arts is as applicable to day as it was hundreds of years ago. Plus, it does not condone violence. On the contrary, martial art advocates peace over fighting.
Martial Arts will help resolve the problems of obesity, lack of focus and self-worth. Being part of a club will help children feel less isolated and more confident by being socially interactive. Learning new skills is something they can be proud of. They will also learn respect for hierarchy as well as improve their concentration and levels of fitness.
Q. What other unique features does this book offer young readers? Something other than the serious issues of life and growing up.
A. I deliberately used famous artists names and literary figures for a lot of the main characters, for example the 3 brothers are called Edgar, Allen and Poe. This is to help them become familiar with such names at an early age. not to mention that one of the major and most lovable characters, Piero, is Italian. The Italian culture has played a huge part in my life and I wanted to share it with as many children as possible; to help them gain an appreciation for cultures other than their own, as well.
SUMMARY OF THEMES AND STORY
Chapter 1 Banjo’s got a girlfriend!
The importance of being honest. The themes of friendship and deceit are explored right from the outset. By trying to lie and hide things from his friend Kiki, Banjo ends up in a predicament.
The strength of friendship and loyalty. Through it all, Kiki is steadfast in wanting to help her friend. Piero is an outsider and becomes the victim of the deceit.
Chapter 2 The 10 o’clock headache
Dealing with a dilemma – seeking help. Unsure as to what to do, our protagonists seek outside help from an older, wiser cat. He advises them to tell the truth, but Banjo is too embarrassed, instead they opt for plan B.
During their meeting with the sage cat, they enter a more sombre, literary adult world reflective of the sage cat’s eponymous, flamboyant yet melancholy poet, Lord Byron; they are also introduced to his 3 sons who are constantly gaming.
Moving a sedentary youth to be more active. A hook for parents to relate to. Lord Byron takes this opportunity to get his sons to experience the outdoors and offers our protagonists their help. A message for kids to get off the sofa!
We now have an unlikely crew setting off on their first mission together.
Chapter 3 The crazy plan
Deceit breeds more deceit – how lying gets you into more trouble. The plan continues the theme of deceit through disguises and how this goes wrong – but in a fun way! We see how the team is starting to grow together, each with their own individual personality. The bad guys come onto stage: they are streetwise, not too menacing for the target audience but enough to play the villainous role.
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.
Last Chapter Back at camp
What a tangled web of lies we weave – facing our fears. The problems are resolved in the final chapter.
The truth shall set you free. By being honest our protagonists have not only relieved themselves of their anxiety, they have also made someone else very happy and gained a new friend.
The theme of kindness and forgivenessare explored through Piero’s hurt feelings and ability to forgive.
Strength in teamwork and friendship. 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!
Download the free book to see what crazy plan our heroes have cooked up!
We all experience moments of self-doubt and uncertainty. Even the most confident and happy people have moments where they think “I’m a failure.”
It’s a part of being human.
Building self-esteem can be a difficult journey for young girls, but it’s much easier to plant this seed at a young age and tend to it as your daughter grows. If you are a parent or any other valued adult in the life of a young girl, I hope you will come to our workshops to seize the moment and begin cultivating a healthy sense of self-worth for your daughter.
We’ll provide several methods and activities for building self-esteem, starting with self-esteem worksheets for young children and ending with the importance of journalling.
Follow the @girlalmightyclub
I intend launching my Kiki books for tweens this spring. In conjunction with the book(s) I would like to run workshops in Harrogate to help young girls’ self-esteem. The format would be:
#GirlAlmighty – Self-Esteem Workshop for Tweens
1. Introduction to the importance of self-esteem with slides – run through the agenda (10 mins)
2. Getting to know yourself (worksheet and activities for increase emotional IQ) (40 mins)
3. Things that make you beautiful, and explaining how by transforming the way we look, we change the way we feel and therefore the way we act. (40 mins)
followed by the importance of self-image and how this makes you confident (projection of the self both inside and out) Time out for makeovers FUN (1.5 hours)
* Your time to shine.
4. Toot your horn + self-esteem journalling, writing prompts for saying something positive about yourself (40 mins)
* I like myself because…
* I’m an expert at…
* I feel peaceful when…
((Journal prompts in journal to take home)) Intro to journal and how to use it: (20 mins)
Your daughter’s personal journal will contain ideas for positive and productive morning routines as well as prompts for each day.
Example journal prompts:
1) Something I did well today…
2) Today I had fun when…
3) I felt proud when…
Plus areas for goal setting: Goals for the month / Goals for the year / Goals for life
5. How to make friends worksheet and activities helping children to learn about what makes them good friends, and what they should look for in a friend. Who you surround yourself with influences your life and decisions and actions. (40 mins)
6. Presentation by female MA Instructor – to talk about the importance of confidence and fitness. With exercises! FUN
*Your time to shine.
Round up and farewell send off
What your daughter will get from the workshop
Emotional: memories of a great day, optimism, focusing on the positive and a strong foundation for building a healthy sense of self-esteem
Physical: a gorgeous journal, a copy of my book(s), flyers for ladies presenting the workshops and videos of their presentations