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2-Year-Old Rocking Back And Forth – Self-Soothing Or Illness?

by Pat
(revere ma)

My grandson who is 2 years old always rocks back and forth in every chair that he sits in, no matter what he is doing, eating, watching tv etc. What is this all about? Is he sick in some way or is this normal for a toddler?

Baby Help Line:

Toddler Rocking Back And Forth – When To Worry?

Don’t worry about your son’s rocking; it is actually normal! Many children from six months on use rocking as a soothing thing. When you think about it, what do most parents do when trying to sooth a baby? Rock them! And that rocking motion is what they are used to in the womb. Some babies even rock and hit their head rhythmically against the crib! Perhaps Mom was a jogger!

Usually toddlers grow out of it by aged three or so.

As long as your grandson is responding normally, making eye contact and trying to communicate, I am sure there is nothing to worry about. Autistic children sometimes rock or do other repetitive motions, so if you have other concerns about his responsiveness or development, then by all means check with his doctor. You can read in this guide about early autism signs and symptoms. (Opens in new window.) But from how you describe his behavior – that it is when in a chair, while watching TV, eating etc – I suspect he has associated eating, TV etc as comfortable soothing activities when in a chair, and rocking just adds to his comfort.

Don’t try to stop him or prevent his rocking, that will create a problem when in actual fact he is taking care of his own comfort by self soothing.

Here’s another baby, who is self-soothing in unusual ways.

He is a lucky wee boy to have a concerned Grandma, enjoy your time with him.

Regards
Annie Desantis