“Knowing what to expect each day helps a child feel safe and secure,” says Dr. Paula Rauch, child psychiatrist.
For Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard parenting is a bit like dancing—ballroom partners, relying on each other and on choreographed routines.
"It's a very particular family schedule when we're both working," Bell recently told E! News. "It's choreographed, I guess, to make sure someone is always there and present for our kids."
Mom to 4-year-old Lincoln and 3-year-old Delta, Bell’s had some practice balancing the demands of #momlife and a career in Hollywood. While a highly choreographed life may not sound as exciting as a more free-flowing approach, experts suggest Bell and Shepard are on the right track with their carefully considered steps.
“When it comes to children's’ emotional health, regular routines and a predictable schedule are better than lots of surprises,” Dr. Paula Rauch, a child psychiatrist, explains in a video for Harvard Medical School. “Children thrive on structure and consistency. Knowing what to expect each day helps a child feel safe and secure,” she says.
Rauch recommends keeping a calendar and schedule for each child and the whole family, and adds that having set choreography for day-to-day parenting makes cutting loose with your kids even more fun when the time comes.
“When your child feels the sense of security that accompanies a predictable daily routine and familiar family time, then doing something special really is experienced as special.”
For Bell and Shepard this means spending summer vacations deviating from their LA routine by relaxing with the kids at a lake in Michigan, but other families might plan a movie night sleepover in the living room or a trip to the zoo.
When it comes to the day-to-day stuff back at home base, Bell admits that sometimes, she lets Shepard take the lead in the parenting dance. “I’m not shocked at how good [Dax’s] parenting is, because he’s very familiar with how the human brain works,” she told People.“I have trouble staying one step ahead of my kids. He does not.”
She’s previously referred to her and Shepherd's parenting style as a “tag team” approach, noting that they’ll relieve each other from parenting situations when patience is waning by “switching kids”.
It sounds like Bell and Shepard have the parenting dance down pat.