Young children have temper tantrums for many different reasons. It could be due to frustrations if they lack the language skills to communicate their wants or needs. Some toddlers have melt downs if they are tired, egocentric or have a hard time understanding someone else's perspective, or she could be asserting her growing independence and identity which results in a power struggle.
If your child has frequent temper tantrums, skills for self soothing and self calming will help. Adults and children who possess these skills have an easier time dealing with frustrations and stress.
Sometimes infants and toddlers have their own way to self sooth. For example thumb sucking, using a pacifier, or rubbing a loved object such as a blanket are a few ways young children self sooth. Here are a few more ways you can calm your child.
Play soft music.
Use white noise like a vacuum or noise machine.
Rock your child.
Rub your child's back or give him a massage.
When your child gets older you can teach her some fun activities to calm her down. For example, ask your child to relax and pretend to be a rag doll. Have her pretend to be an animal. Sensory activities also help sooth children. Fill a bucket or dishpan with water, or sand, or shaving cream. Play dough, Gak, Silly Putty and clay are also very calming materials for your child.
There are many ways parents can
stop a temper tantrum. Do not give attention to the tantrum. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to try to help their child “work through” their tantrum. Behaviors associated with tantrums should not be acceptable to you or your family.
What you described is not SELF-soothing. Soothing? Yes. But if the parent is actually performing the activity, such as massaging or rocking your child, you're simply reinforcing maladaptive behavior, thereby increasing the likelihood of that same behavior occurring in the future. Actual self-soothing is something the child does his- or herself to calm themselves down, without the parent "giving in" to a tantrum.