Toddlers take on the world – and learn to say please and thank you!

Our Digital Marketing Manager Jo is finding that teaching her toddler good manners means much more than the occasional ‘thanks’.

I don’t know any parent who doesn’t want their child to be polite and well mannered. Walking and talking is hard wired for most children, but manners are most definitely taught. In the early days, milk, sleep and of course lots of love were all that seemed to be required of myself as a parent. 19 months on and there is still a lot of the feeding, cuddling, changing, cajoling and singing that has been going on since day one, but we have also entered a whole new world of language acquisition and newfound independence, the result of which appears to be a lot of "no, mummy, don't like it" and not infrequently, "no mummy, go away".  So charming!

If ever there was any doubt before, then the time when your baby becomes a toddler really brings home the fact that you are the role model for this child. On top of getting them out of bed each day, dressed, fed, answering every cry, every question, keeping them stimulated, staying one step ahead of potential hunger, tiredness and boredom to avoid meltdown AND avoiding what seems like  the constant risk of injury, it is also clear that the role of our child's first – and perhaps most important – teacher, falls to us too; we count ducks in the pond, point out the colours of the cars, read and sing and teach language at a rate of knots simply by talking, talking, talking. But as parents we also have to master the art of teaching manners and good behaviour, something altogether more complex!


It's amazing how chocolate can really bring a toddler's manners to the fore!

As parents, we are our children’s role models and friends with older children tell me that teaching manners isn't just for the toddler years; it carries on pretty much until they fly the nest.  We are behind our toddlers with constant reminders and prompts to say 'please' and 'thank you', to share toys, to say sorry, to say excuse me and learn to take turns and wait in line for the slide.

Olive on the slide

Any help in reinforcing these messages is gratefully received, which is why I was thrilled to see the latest Princess Polly and Pirate Pete book – Please and Thank YouPirate Pete and Princess Polly are two of Ladybird's best-loved pre-school characters and this new title follows on from their adventures in potty training which proved a winning addition to many a parent's armoury in the journey from nappy to potty. Even Chris Evans who told his Radio Two listeners: “Pirate Pete is king of the potty. You read it to your kid six months before they are ready – every night so it’s hard-wired into them. It’s got this great little button in the corner so that you can cheer every time Pirate Pete does his business on the potty. The applause button is the stroke of genius.”

Pirate pete 
Princess polly

The books provide a really gentle reinforcement, whether potty training or working on minding ps and qs. Pirate Pete and Princess Polly are characters children can relate to brilliantly and the stories are told with just the right dose of humour to keep both parent and child amused and of course each book comes with an ever popular sound button.

I am also reliably informed that there are more Pirate Pete and Princess Polly stories coming soon which deal with a few more experiences we have looming on the horizon- becoming a big sister and making the move from cot to big bed. I've also put in a request for a book on moving house, for some reason all these big new experiences do seem to come at once, the life of a toddler (and that of their parents!) is a busy one indeed.

If there are any subjects you would like to see Pirate Pete and Princess Polly cover, please do let us know by leaving a comment below. Meanwhile, you can subscribe to the Ladybird newsletter or follow Ladybird on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don't miss news of these new releases.

Visit Age and Stage at for advice and book suggestions relevant to your baby, toddler, preschooler or young reader. 

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