Kristen Bell on Teaching Her Daughters to Give Back: ‘I Tell My Kids That the World Is Just Our Extended Family’

10/07/2016 at 06:30 PM ET

Kristen Bell
Ari Michelson

For Kristen Bell, her little family of four is part of a much bigger picture.

“The way I see it, we are all on Team Human, and I tell my kids that the world is just our extended family,” Bell, 36, said in an article she penned for the November issue of Parents.

Bell shares her two daughters, Lincoln, 3½, and Delta, almost 2, with husband Dax Shepard. And in the Bell Shepard household, giving back is a priority.

“When I bring my girls along with me to volunteer and try to teach them to share toys with each other, I want them to learn that it’s not just about sharing stuff, it’s the sharing of experiences,” the mother of two wrote about bringing her kids along to various charity events, including those hosted by Baby 2 Baby and Alliance of Moms.

She adds, “I don’t want my kids to be afraid to part with their things, as they’re just that — things.”

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Kristen Bell
Ari Michelson

Recognizing this societal stress on materialism is what Bell is hoping to instill in her two girls.

“My wish is that my kids are able to discern between what’s disposable in life and what’s not,” The Good Place actress wrote. “Material items can go, but acts of kindness, love and giving must stay. Those are the true things that make us who we are.”

One tactic Bell said helps her family accomplish this is their “one in, one out” rule, which was inspired by one stranger’s random act of kindness. While shopping with one of her daughters, Bell wrote that a fellow mom approached her in the mall.

Kristen Bell
Ari Michelson

“The mom said her daughter had a toy giraffe at home and since she was learning the concept of giving, she’d like to give it to my daughter. We exchanged addresses and the following week we got this little stuffed giraffe in the mail,” she wrote, adding, “Now we have a ‘one in, one out’ rule. If we bring home a new puzzle, my toddler had to give an old one away, and she’s pretty good at this, despite how young she is.”

For more on Bell’s cover and contribution as a guest editor to the issue, visit the Parents magazine website here.

— Blake Bakkila

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Showing 5 comments

megan on

Kristen certainly isn’t afraid to part with her things. At one point she walked away from a previous home she bought & just stopped making payments on it.

Sam on

Something tells me this “extended family” mantra only extends to those who share her politics and tell her how awesome she is.

Kate Messner on

What happened to the Disqus comment section of the website?

Katie on

Love this couple…they are so funny. She is right, it’s just stuff and it’s great to share and remember those who have less than they do.

Kate, the comment section was demolished by the thundering herd of trolls who took over and ruined it for everyone else who just wanted to chat about the article. It became rude, crude, hateful and all the fun was sucked out of commenting, unless you liked seeing rude, cruel comments and enjoyed being insulted all the time by the jerks who thought they were so clever.

Sara on


Quit being petty and get a life, you sad thing.