Rubber stamps and ink pads are my savior these days. My toddler LOVES the rubber stamps (most toddlers do), and they are a very quick and easy way to coerce a strong-willed toddler into good behavior at home and on plane trips, road trips, and stroller trips :).
I have a very busy 20 month old toddler- while we have been grounded for a couple months I have had her enrolled in swimming, soccer, tumbling, creative movement, music, and art classes. This is primarily to keep her engaged with fun things to look forward to (and she definitely does look forward to them all), and secondarily to give her an opportunity to interact with other kidlets her age since often when we are traveling she doesn’t get much time with other chicklets.
In most of her classes my daughter and the other toddlers are rewarded for accomplishing specific activities (or making it through 30 to 45 minute classes), by getting their hands, and sometimes bellies, stamped with rubber stamps using ink pads (non-toxic washable stuff). My daughter loves these stamps, and waits patiently, her fists outstretched, for her teacher to stamp her. She smiles and proudly shows me her stamp.
So I went ahead and bought some stamps for home use. My daughter tends to be on the extreme side of “strong-willed” so I’m always looking for ways to provide positive incentives and rewards for good behavior and cooperation. I bought a little bucket of Aladine Jungle Themed 15 assorted rubber stamps that comes with one small black ink pad. It has been a HUGE hit.
If she starts to fuss, whine, or scream, I ask her if she wants to have a zebra stamp, or cheetah stamp, or whatever she seems most excited about at the moment. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it successfully diverts her attention away from the negative to the positive, focusing on the stamp and often cooperating. At 20 months, she understands the concept of being rewarded (E.g. “If you sit down in your stroller and buckle-up nicely, have snacks, and sit nicely you’ll get an elephant stamp when we get home). When she knows she’s been behaving well she’ll say, “Yea, Veda,” clap for herself, hold out her fist, and pointing to it say, “Cheetah,” or “oooh-oooh-aahh-aahh” for monkey, letting me know it’s time to give her a good behavior reward :).
I’m not sure how long this will last, but we’re still going strong. We have an upcoming trip to Portland on Thursday which is going to be a long haul (about 8 hours total with a layover in Seattle), and the small container of animal stamps is DEFINITELY going to be coming with us. I plan on rewarding good behavior for waiting in line and getting through security and behaving well on the plane. It is, of course, up to her if she decides to cooperate, but these rubber stamps are definitely helpful in shifting and re-focusing her attention, rewarding good behavior, and hopefully will result in a smoother ride!
In addition to covering my toddler’s hands, arms, legs, and belly in stamps, it’s also fun for them to just stamp themselves onto a blank piece of paper. Aladine also has a bucket of From the Sea Themed Stamps, Farm Animal Stamps, Dinosaur Stamps, Fairyland Stamps, Fast Machine Stamps, and Pirate Stamps, and more, depending on what tickles your toddler’s fancy.