Research For 'Rents

Baby massage: a touching way to control temper tantrums

How does a nice, relaxing massage sound right about now?

Oh sorry, not for you. For your kid.


Research suggests that massage can do wonders for your little ones. A 5- to 15-minute rubdown every day has been shown to lengthen children’s sleeping sessions, decrease their stress levels, and even reduce behavior problems.

And our family has experienced all of these effects firsthand!

Our earliest introduction to infant massage was when we enrolled our first kid, Sammy, in a baby massage class – mostly as an excuse to give her some extra affection and to meet other new parents. It was a fun activity for a few months, but the experience didn’t seem to have any lasting effects on us or the baby.

But after we had our second child, our family developed a whole new appreciation for massage. While our daughter could basically take or leave a massage, our son Freddy totally got into them.

babymassage2He finds massages so relaxing, in fact, that he started skipping the pre-bedtime rocking chair sessions we always used to do, choosing instead to lie down in his crib on his tummy so we can knead his neck, back and feet – while he grunts and points to each area he wants us to work on next.

And here’s the most amazing thing massages do for our son – they can actually calm his tantrums!

Trust us, Freddy is pretty chill most of the time, but when the mood strikes him, he can throw some monster-sized, marathon-length super-fits. And we’ve discovered that the only foolproof method to calm him down then is to gently massage his back and chest. Even if he’s mid-wail and gearing up for more, a few purposeful presses from us can get him to suddenly quiet down, zone out and focus sweetly on the massaging sensation.

It’s pretty amazing to watch!

So how did we figure out this awesome trick for calming our son’s tantrums? Total dumb luck and trial-and-error. Sometimes you just get lucky as a parent. And it’s feels even better than a massage!

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