Breathing Compassion: Helping Children Cope with School Tragedy. ~ Lisa Flynn

How to help empower our children during a time of great tragedy.

This will be a tough week for schools and students around the U.S. The news of the shooting tragedy in Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. is horrifying to anyone, and although feelings of sadness, empathy and compassion are prevalent and natural responses, so are feelings of anger, helplessness and fear.

To help empower children (and ourselves) to ease feelings of helplessness, you might try compassion breathing.

One example of compassion breathing is Peace Breath: sending peace and love to the children and families of Newtown, Conn., and to the world. This exercise could be done in the classroom or over announcements with your entire school.

Peace Breath is one of 67 activities from the Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck. The instructions on the card are simple and easy to follow, and appropriate for a variety of ages.

Peace Breath inspires self-regulation while generating immense compassion, connectedness and community, with the power to help heal ourselves and the world.

I would like to also share other useful resources on how to help children cope with frightening news:

CASEL: Explaining and Coping with School Violence

PBS Parents: Talking with Kids About News [ages 6-8]

National Association of School Psychologists:

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers K-12

Helping Children Cope With National Tragedies: Tips for Families, Educators and Caretakers

Helping Children with Disabilities Cope with a Crisis:

BAM Radio Network: Coping with School Tragedies: What do we do now?

Responsive Classroom: No Ordinary Monday

Many blessings to the Sandy Hook and Newtown, Conn., community, to the beautiful children they have lost and to the many heroes who tried to protect them. With each breath, we send you peace and compassion.













Click here for the printable version.


Lisa Flynn, E-RYT, RCYT, is an inspired Mom, author and Smartwool fanatic. She’s also the Founder and Director of ChildLightHYPERLINK “http://www.childlightyoga.com/” Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms, organizations providing evidence-based yoga education to children in schools and communities and to professionals whose work supports the well-being of children. Her books include Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck and Yoga for Children, to be published Spring, 2013 by Adams Media, an F+W Media company. She can be reached at [email protected].



Like elephant journal on Facebook

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Read The Best Articles of March
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.

elephant journal

Elephant Journal is dedicated to “bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society.” We’re about anything that helps us to live a good life that’s also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant’s been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter’s Shorty Awards for #green content…two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of elephantjournal.com. Questions? Send to [email protected]