Kristen Bell is teaching her children about the power of sharing.
In an interview for SELF magazine surrounding National Sleep Awareness Month, the 39-year-old actress reveals that her two kids with husband Dax Shepard (daughters Delta, 5, and Lincoln, who turns 7 this month) do not have their own rooms.
“It’s very important to me that they share a bedroom,” says Bell. “I think their lives will be easier than most other people’s on the planet, and to develop a good character, it’s important to always be going through something. I like the fact that they will have to figure out how to share a bedroom.”
“Figure out how to share your closet. Figure out how to share your space,” adds The Good Place actress. “If that’s the worst thing about your life, that you have to share a bedroom with your sister, you’re going to be okay.”
Bell doesn’t even mind being the bad guy, as long as Delta and Lincoln have a solid dynamic between them. In fact, “Recently, I’ve found a lot of success when I can get my daughters to gang up on me,” she tells SELF.
“When they treat each other the worst, I have to say something like, ‘Well I’m just glad you guys aren’t ganging up on me,’ and that gives them this idea of, ‘Ooh, we can be co-conspirators and battle Mom together.’ Because what I care about is that they’re forming a bond,” says the mother of two.
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Bell and her Armchair Expert podcast co-host husband, 45, “always try to put our kids to bed together,” as the tag-team effect is useful due the girls being “very strong-willed children” who “have both of our stubbornness combined,” she jokes.
“They go to bed at 7:30, so we will go into the bedroom at 7:00 and have a Supreme Court debate about whether or not they should brush their teeth,” the Veronica Mars star jokes, sharing that she has leveraged “the four walls technique” with her daughters, “which is where you have someone come to their own conclusion by asking them a series of questions that leads them to believe it is the right decision.”
“For example, I say, ‘What’s your favorite food?’ [The kids] say, ‘Macaroni and cheese.’ ‘What do you love about it?’ ‘It’s delicious.’ ‘What does it make you feel like?’ ‘Makes me feel full.’ ‘Okay, what do you use to eat macaroni and cheese?’ ‘My teeth.’ ‘Oh, great, so if you didn’t have your teeth, you couldn’t eat macaroni and cheese?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And do you know how you keep your teeth?’ You lead them to their conclusion,” Bell adds.
“Sometimes I have success by going in the bedroom with them and not saying anything, just sitting down on the bed, and they will reroute themselves,” she continues. “Sometimes, if I’ve had a really exhausting day, I’ll look at the clock at 6:30 and tell them that it’s 7:30. They can’t read the clock, and that is just fine with me.”
Bell has been instilling bedtime routines into her kids since they were “jelly roll babies,” when she “would sit in the bathtub with them every night because my doula had recommended I ‘let their brains start to connect that “After the dip in the warm water is when I sleep the longest,” ‘ ” she recalls to SELF.
“They have to connect patterns — life is about connecting patterns, right? So, as they got older it became we brush our teeth, we wash our hands, we put on our jammies and we read two books,” Bell shares.
Lately, those books have been all about the journey to Hogwarts and beyond with the Harry Potter series, in audio book format. They’re currently on the fourth book in the seven-part series: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
“They love it,” says Bell. “If we’re not listening to an audio book, we read books. And there’s usually some sort of Daddy wrestling match that happens to get out all the energy right before bed.”
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