'I Love the Fact That They're Active': Kevin Hart on Raising Healthy Kids
The comedian, actor, and dad of (almost) three shares how he makes working out with his kids fun, what they do in their downtime, and how humor impacts his parenting style.
Kevin Hart is a king in the world of comedy. But he's also a huge voice when it comes to promoting an active lifestyle and getting involved in his own kids' everyday lives. The dad of Heaven, 12, and Hendrix, 9, is about to becomae a dad for the third time: On Mother's Day, he announced that he and his wife, Eniko Parrish, are expecting their first child together. Parents.com sat down with the Secret Life of Pets and Captain Underpants voice actor to ask about what activities he loves to do with his kids, how he brings humor into parenting, and the number one piece of advice he'd like to share with all new dads.
Parents: It's clear that you like to work out. How do you encourage your kids to live an active lifestyle?
Kevin Hart: It all comes with leading by the example. The more kids see us do, the more they want to pattern their own behavior and actions after you. That's the sign of a good parent. My kids see me working out and running, and they want to join in. I love the fact that they're active and patterning themselves after me. It's the biggest compliment you can get as a dad.
Do you and your kids exercise together?
Yes! My son loves to hang. My daughter, not so much, but she'll do it because she doesn't want to feel left out. We all run together, and we like to go a mile or two. My daughter plays soccer, and my son is a video game junkie. I'm a health ambassador for Rally, which spreads the message of health and wellness and we try to educate people on the importance of taking care of themselves, eating better, and increasing the longevity of their lifespan by simply being healthy.
How do you live a healthy lifestyle outside of exercise?
Consistency. Put some kind of system in place that works. For me, it's getting up early, working out, and going about my day. It's a good mental exercise for me as well, because I feel like whenever I'm working out I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I make sure I'm always giving my most valuable effort.
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You're about to become a dad of three. What's the biggest thing you learned from being a dad so far that you'll bring into this next chapter?
The education that comes with being a father is knowing how to be a friend as well. You never want to lose the lines of communication or put something in place where your kids think they can't talk or come to you. I think I've done a good job at that. We're definitely friends, but I'm still respected as a parent. The biggest thing is getting that trust in your kids so they feel they can always talk to you, and that's something I want to have with my child that's on the way.
How does your background in humor and comedy influence your parenting style?
It's an amazing added bonus simply because the fun never stops. Even though there does need to be a respectful line where they know you're the disciplinarian and the one calling the shots, there's a fun approach to that as well. I've never had to really reprimand my kids, because they get it and there's a high level of common sense. The fun helps to merge those worlds together to where they can even be sometimes blurred.
Do your kids think you're funny?
Depends on the day. Sometimes they call me corny, which is good. I'm not a big deal to my kids at all.
How do you and your kids spend your downtime together?
Hang out, man. It's not a crazy thing. We're very simple—hang out in the house, chill, watch movies. We play some board games every now and again, but we're movie buffs. We love to go to the movies.
If you could give one piece of advice to new dads, what would it be?
Communicate with your kids and be present. Don't just be around. Make sure you're present. That's being really involved in your kid's life, and knowing what's going on, talking to them, and picking their brains. It's a good thing.
Emily Elveru is an editorial assistant at Parents magazine.