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Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard on Parenting During a Pandemic

Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard on the Benefits of Having a Nightly "Kindness Hour" With Their Kids

The last several months of shelter in place have brought many families closer together, but sometimes staying at home with your loved ones for too long can be frustrating. In a recent interview with psychologist and author Wendy Mogel for AW2020, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard shared how they learned that a simple shift in the rules can alleviate the stress of staying at home for the whole family. The first major change? Delta and Lincoln's sleep schedule.

"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."

"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."

Kristen and Dax went on to explain that being more lenient with the rules at home has taught them that sometimes less is 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 make her. The following morning, her daughter asked, Mommy, will my teeth get cavities from one night of not brushing my teeth?" In that moment, Kristen said 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, even if that means 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.

At the end of the week, she and Dax take the time every Friday to have a "rose, bud, and thorns" chat with their daughters where the girls share three things they're 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.

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