In homes and school communities nationwide, there is re-energized interest in the values of community, compassion, and tolerance, and in finding our way to a kinder culture—a culture that starts with our families. Headlines speak of hate crimes, intolerance, and us-versus-them divisiveness.
Recent political events have left many Americans yearning for unity, respect, and compassion in our national discourse. In our schools, bullying continues to be a pervasive problem, and in our homes, "screen-time" poses a constant threat to 'family time.' Research shows that connection and social engagement are key to successful, fulfilling lives, and yet we have never been less connected than we are now.
Perhaps more than any other group, parents recognize the potential damage of this trend. Children who are raised in a culture where giving and compassion are valued become happier and more positively engaged with those around them. They are less likely to treat others disrespectfully. With increased concern about meanness and bullying, you may be among the many parents who see the need for more civil, respectful, and considerate behavior among our children.
The Kindness Advantage is a practical and concrete guide for you to equip your child with the skills they need to have a positive influence on the world. We all benefit when children are raised with the understanding that they can have an impact by making conscious choices. It's never too early to start your child on a path of fulfillment through meaningful connection with others. Designed to be read with children as young as four, the book presents ten fundamental concepts to weave into your family's daily life. Using text, quotes, questions and real life stories, The Kindness Advantage is the first book parents need to think about and teach the necessary skills to be a kind, compassionate person. Each idea on its own is simple and unintimidating, yet together they form the powerful foundation parents need to go beyond teaching "please" and "thank-you" to form kindness habits that will last a lifetime. In a world where kindness is so greatly needed,
The Kindness Advantage offers inspiration and activities to teach kids empathy, inspire a culture of compassion and connection, and empower children to make a difference in their community and the world.
"In this day and age, kindness and connection are especially important. An accessible and informative guide, The Kindness Advantage is a must read for parents of all ages."
Judson Brewer MD PhD, author of The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits
"Dale Atkins and Amanda Salzhauer's book, The Kindness Advantage, can serve as a partial antidote to these turbulent times. They remind us that kindness is both a moral behavior that can improve the status of the world, but also be advantageous to the individual who practices kindness. The book's blend of significant and relevant issues in psychology, education, and humanism provides a myriad of practical suggestions to help us raise kind children. The book will serve as a resource to parents and educators. By teaching the components underlying kindness children can be provided a framework where we can both teach and weave these crucial lessons into the lives of children."
Norma D. Feshbach, Ph.D. Professor, Chair, Interim Dean Emeritus UCLA
"The section on relaxation,breathing, visualization and mediation is a gift to the children in our lives and ourselves. We cannot impart the lessons of kindness when we ourselves are agitated and distressed by the tumult in our lives and in our worlds. Likewise, children have difficulty being kind when they are in the grip of negative emotions.This section provides children and adults the tools to master negative emotions. We highly recommend this book to be read, saved and used as a long term resource in your child rearing library."
Laura E. Feshbach, Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology from University of Washington
"The Kindness Advantage is the perfect book. Building on scientific evidence about developing aspects of kindness, such as empathy, it gives clear, practical advice to parents and suggests engaging activities and stories for children. Nothing could be more important today than increasing compassion and decreasing polarization and acrimony. I am going to give this book to my son who has a young daughter."
Dr. Susan Fuhrman, President Emerita, Teachers College Columbia University
"In times of discord and polarization, kindness is a family value that can often be overlooked and underestimated. But, in truth, few parental responsibilities carry more weight—and bring more joy—than teaching children the power of flexing their own kindness muscles. Steeped in research and brimming with practical tips, The Kindness Advantage provides parents with a blueprint for nurturing empathy in young children, while offering real-life stories that both instruct and inspire. This is a thoughtful guidebook for parents, caregivers, and any adults looking to help build happiness, raise good citizens, and create harmonious communities."
Myung Lee, Executive Director of Fund for Cities of Service
"The Kindness Advantage by Dale Atkins, PhD, and Amanda Salzhauer, MSW is exactly what we need more of right now. With empowering examples and science-based truths, Dale and Amanda share what it takes to foster kindness, empathy, compassion, and heart in our families. Parents will learn how to take on social questions and connect in a way that will improve the lives of their children and help create a more nurturing world. Highly recommended!"
Amy McCready, Author and Founder, Positive Parenting Solutions
"This enormously insightful book provides an inspiring and fundamental blueprint on how kindness can and should be taught to children. It provides essential ways to have conversations with your children on how to be kind. The Kindness Advantage reinforces how considerate and kind behavior can be life-changing and life lasting for children to help make the world a better place."
Laura Schroff, #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of An Invisible Thread
"The Kindness Advantage is the ray of hope that we all need in this harsh, heavy, world. It is a blueprint of how to partner with the next generation to live our inherent values, to tap our organic ability to love, and to create a kinder culture. Many thanks to Dale Atkins and Amanda Salzhauer for bringing this much-needed gift to the world!"
Rev. Susan Sparks, Pastor, Comedian, and Author of Laugh Your Way to Grace
"As a physician who uses mindfulness practices extensively in working with patients, health care professionals, and people dealing with all varieties of stress, I love that this book incorporates those practices into a guide for parents who are teaching their children to be kind. The authors wisely lead with the evidence that kindness leads to greater happiness, meaning, and wellbeing, and then provide a myriad of inspirational examples and ideas for children and parents. Grandparents, who are often crucial inspirational figures in children's lives, may particularly benefit from ideas for intergenerational collaborations in kindness."
Patricia A. Bloom, MD, Certified Teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Clinical Associate Professor of Geriatrics, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY
"With optimism and compassion, The Kindness Advantage offers practical tips and real-world examples parents and educators need to teach empathy, compassion, and kindness to our children. Along the way, it also provides opportunities to reflect on our values and experiences as adults. This book speaks to the innate desire of every child to be good to themselves and those around them. Dale Atkins and Amanda Salzhauer make the case for kindness as the tool to radically transform our children's lives, and our own."
Naila Bolus, President & CEO, Jumpstart
"Just like we see in kids who have the empathy advantage, children who are raised with the kindness advantage are happier, connected, compassionate, and will have what they need to become changemakers in their world. The Kindness Advantage offers parents the tools to teach these skills and more to their young children. With the extensive examples of activities provided in the The Kindness Advantage, parents can pick and choose what resonates with them to create a personalized approach to bringing kindness into their everyday lives."
Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World
"A moving, profound story about the love between mothers and daughter and what they share, even after death. You definitely don't have to have even stepped foot in a yoga studio to appreciate this story. It's the kind of book that stays with you long after you finish and make you want to hold the people you love even closer."
Mandy Stadtmiller, Author of Unwifeable
"Rather than abstractly teaching children to be kind, this book is a guide to help parents discover and nurture the qualities of kindness already hardwired in us at infancy. With their parent(s)' help children can discover for themselves the many expressions of kindness that can ensure their current and future well being."
Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Love
"The Kindness Advantage is an inspiring and informative read for any parent who wants to help their children harness their inner kindness. In The Kindness Advantage we learn that children innately have kindness and compassion ingrained in them. Dr. Atkins and Ms. Salzhauer provide parents practical advice for how to cultivate and nurture that in their children. Parents are offered a myriad of tools to help them talk to their children about being kind, as well as ways to get them involved in activities that can help cultivate compassion for others and a sense that they can make a difference in the world. This book is exactly what we need right now to help us shape the next generation into compassionate and caring individuals who will have a desire to change the world for the better."
Joan Lunden, Award-Winning Journalist, Best Selling Author
About the Authors:
Dale V. Atkins, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who has more than twenty-five years of experience as a relationship expert, focusing on families, couples, parenting, aging well, managing stress and maintaining balance in one's life. Dr. Atkins consults domestically and internationally. She conducts seminars and retreats for executives and employees of major corporations, government agencies, and health and educational institutions in matters related to the fields of psychology, sociology, education, and communication. An author of several books, articles and journals for popular and professional audiences, Dr. Atkins is a much sought after lecturer and keynote speaker as well as a recurrent guest expert in the media. She frequently appears on NBC-TV's "The Today Show" and CNN's Headline News (HLN). Additionally, she serves on the Boards of several non-profit local and national organizations whose foci are literacy, tolerance, wellness, child protection, and community action. Dr. Atkins has a private practice in New York City.
Amanda R. Salzhauer, MSW, has worked as a social worker in clinics and private practice. She has been a member of several nonprofit boards, including Riverdale Neighborhood House and the Board of Overseers for the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact. She has three children and lives in New York City.