There’s an interesting article about what to do when your child is having a temper tantrum posted at Boston.com by Dr. Claudia Gold, a pediatrician and author — don’t leave your child alone, reassure them with hugs (or verbal comfort), etc. In our family, hugs or even a hand on the leg or back really does help to alleviate the temper tantrum. We also talk about the emotions she felt later (after some time has passed) to talk through how she felt (angry, scared, out of control, etc.).
See the article, Never Leave Your Child Alone During a Temper Tantrum.