How Kristen Bell Used a 'PAW Patrol' Toy to Teach Her Daughters About Giving Back
The beloved celeb mom shared how she's giving her daughters, Lincoln, 5, and Delta, 3, life lessons on weighty subjects like giving back, sex ed, and death.
Whether she's getting real about pregnancy or sharing a controversial parenting move she employs to help her toddlers sleep, Kristen Bell is beloved for being unapologetically straightforward and down-to-earth. On Thursday, April 5, Bell appeared in Los Angeles at the launch of her brand This Bar Saves Lives' innovative packaging design, fresh logo, and two new flavors. Inspired by the discussion around This Bar Saves Lives' mission—to address childhood malnutrition, which annually claims the lives of 3 million children under the age of 5—Bell was asked how she talks to her daughters Lincoln, 5, and Delta, 3, about creating positive change in the world. As it turns out, she was able to inspire her eldest with a PAW Patrol toy.
"I talk to my kids at their brain level, which is like zero," Bell joked. For instance, "When we get a toy into the house, they are responsible for picking a toy to go out of the house. We talk about the work I do with Baby2Baby, cuz I'm one of their ambassadors."
Bell explained that the girls' school has a bin for the Los Angeles-based organization, which provides low-income children with diapers, clothing, and all the basic necessities. "We walk past it, and there's a PAW Patrol toy at the top, and they want it," Bell explained. "And I say, 'You know how excited you are about your PAW Patrol toys? Some kids don't have any! Any PAW Patrol toys. Well, what would that feel like if you had no PAW Patrol toys?'"
The actress shared how she feels it's important to say more than just "You need to donate that," given her daughters' ages. "That's like saying that to a dog!" Bell joked. "Kids don't understand that. But if you say to them, 'Well, what would it feel like if you had no toys?' Then, they go, 'I would feel sad.' And you go, 'Some kids don't have any toys. That sucks! And their parents work really hard, and they still can't afford toys.'" Bell said she might point out a toy to the girls and say, "Look, we don't play with this anymore! Let's give it to a kid."
These conversations began back before Lincoln had turned 4, and it worked! "She out of the blue came out of her room and was like, 'I want to give this to a kid who doesn't have toys,'" Bell explained. "And I said, 'Great, we'll put it in the car and give it to Baby2Baby.' And she goes, 'Wait, I have to wrap it first.' She went in and got wrapping paper—and it was barely wrapped, to be honest—and she put it on the porch and said, 'We're going to take this tomorrow.' She wanted to make it nice."
She touched on how she and husband Dax Shepard have open conversations with the girls on other sensitive subjects, as well. "We talk very bluntly, in some people's opinion, to our children about everything," Bell shared. "They asked about sex. We said, 'There's a penis. There's a vagina. There's an ovum. There's ejaculate. They combine, there's DNA, and then you grow in my belly.'"
(Side note: Bell says the "best advice" about sex ed she got from The Path star and fellow mom Michelle Monaghan: "She said, 'When you explain to your kids about sex, boys or girls, don't say, 'The man puts his penis inside the woman's vagina.' Change one word, and say, 'The woman takes the man's penis and puts it in her vagina.' And you have re-written the story." Brilliant!)
Bell also touched on the candid way she and Shepard are talking to the girls about death. "My father-in-law is passing away of prostate cancer, and it's very hard, but our family is in the best place possible, [and] we talk to our kids about it," she explained. "We say, 'Papa won't be around for much longer, and you won't be able to talk to him, so it's important that we call him and draw pictures.' And [we explain that] his body is failing, because he didn't go to the doctor as much. We give [Lincoln] the scientific facts around why his organs are failing."
The Frozen star revealed how the conversation inspired her eldest. "Yesterday, in the car, she said to me, 'Mom, when Papa dies, and you bury him, will Delta and I be there?' And I said, 'Yeah, you'll be there.' And then I explained to her what a casket was, what an open casket was—I said, 'You'll probably see his body, and he won't be in it anymore'—and what burying someone was. And she said, 'Okay, so we'll be there. Do I need to bring my gardening tools? Cuz I have a shovel. And where do we do it? Do we do it on the side of the house?' I was like, oh my God, her frontal lobe is firing! It's trying to come online and go, 'How do prepare for this? Do I need to be involved?' It made me very proud that she was aware of what was going to happen and she was handling it with her practical, critical thinking brain. She was like, 'Well, he's a member of our family. How do we handle it?'"
Leave it to the adored celeb mom to tackle life lessons with her daughters in such an honest, heartwarming way! Like we needed more proof that she's total #momgoals.