With two young daughters at home, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard have worked out the perfect parenting tactic: the “tag team.”
“We switch kids all the time,” the Frozen actress tells reporters of her children Lincoln, 4, and Delta, 2, at Alliance of Moms’ Raising Baby event on Saturday. “Because if I’m talking to the 2½-year-old, and I’m done, I’ll just be like, ‘We’ve got to switch. I don’t want to talk to this kid anymore.’ ”
Bell, 37, explains that the kid-swapping is done with good intentions: to give them the attention they deserve.
“You don’t want to be reactive to you kids. You want to be thoughtful, and you want to be setting a good example,” she says. “Sometimes that example is crying in front of them and saying, ‘I’m overwhelmed,’ or ‘I’m sad because of XYZ,’ or ‘I’m just sad because I’m feeling sad. I’m going to let my sad out. And then I’m going to find a way to cheer myself up.’ “
The actress continues, “It’s not about perfection, but it is about being thoughtful and not reactive. So in order to not be reactive, we switch kids a lot.”
Bell admits that Shepard’s parenting game is impressive, and that she’s the “pushover.”
“I’m not shocked at how good [Dax’s] parenting is, because he’s very familiar with how the human brain works,” she says. “I have trouble staying one step ahead of my kids. He does not.”
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Bell says the hardest part of motherhood if the lack of sleep.
“I think that fuels everything. It fuels my lack of patience with my kids sometimes,” she explains. “If I had had a full night’s rest, I would be able to be more patient with them sometimes.”
The actress continues, “It’s a toss-up between that, and truly feeling confident that what you’re doing for your child is the best thing, because it is extremely counterintuitive. Giving them everything and keeping them happy is not the best thing for the development of their character. Sometimes explaining to them, ‘You don’t get everything you want, it’s okay that you can cry about it right now,’ is what’s better for them in the long run, and that’s hard to be the reason your child’s crying and sit there and watch it cry.”
Bell and Shepard have been open about their relationship’s “volatile” start and the importance of therapy in their marriage. They also recognize the need to take brief breaks from their kids, even if it’s hard to fit into their busy schedules.
“You just do. There’s no easy way,” Bell says. “Sometimes you don’t, and then you have a stressful couple months, and then you find time to do. There’s no trick to doing it, other than having really good communication with your partner, and being able to say, ‘I’m reaching capacity. So I need to go take a hike today, or I need to go have lunch with a girlfriend.’”
She adds, “Something that makes me feel like a woman again.”