In a recent interview with Wendy Mogel, psychologist and author for AW2020, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard revealed how they learned that a simple shift in the rules can alleviate the stress of staying at home for everyone.
The first big change was Delta and Lincoln‘s sleep schedule.
“We were very quick to put them to bed prior to the pandemic, and now since we don’t have a lot on our plate in our evening, we now take the time to lay with them in bed,” Kristen said.
“I used to be a little hell-bent on the time, and I wanted them to get their sleep in. And now there’s this beautiful half hour where it’s almost the only time of day where they’re nice to each other . . . It becomes my favorite part of day because we’re just witnessing them in whatever the opposite of a witching hour is — their kindness hour — where their brains are starting to calm down and they’re able to be nice to each other, and I couldn’t see that moment before the pandemic.”
Both Kristen and Dax went explained how being more lenient with the rules at home has taught them that less is sometimes more.
“During this pandemic, what I really learned is — again the grace from myself — just to let go of some of the things I wanted to control — like you have to brush your teeth every night,” Kristen said, citing one night where her five-year-old didn’t want to brush her teeth and she didn’t force the issue.
The next morning, her daughter asked: “Mommy, will my teeth get cavities from one night of not brushing my teeth?” Kristen said it was that moment she learned, “I was doing enough by doing very little.”
Dax and Kristen have also put their daughters’ mental health first during shelter in place, including taking breaks from school throughout the day.
“I’m going to prioritize her mental health, just like I prioritize my mental health, and if she is too overwhelmed, I’m going to shut the computer and take a five-minute break,” Kristen said.
Both she and Dax at the end of the week take time each Friday to have a “rose, bud, and thorns” chat with their daughters were each girl shares three things they are grateful for.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to model the things I could have done better at,” Dax said. “When we’re in bed sometimes at night, they’ll say, ‘Does anyone want to talk about what they’re grateful for?’ And then, immediately, my mom-heart goes crazy,” Kristen added.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.