“I work a lot with PATH, which is People Assisting the Homeless, and we do move-ins for families,” she explains. “My kids have come to those. You move a family from a transitional shelter into permanent housing. So we go through our toy box once a month and say, ‘What aren’t we using?’ ”
“It’s difficult for them, don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy — I don’t have Mother Teresa children,” the CHiPs star adds. “But we talk about it, and that’s what’s important. And we say, ‘Are we really using these dolls anymore? Because there are kids that don’t have dolls. Should we clean them up and see if someone else wants them?’ And six times out of 10, their answer is yes.”
It has gotten to the point where Lincoln now comes up with items to give away on her own when she knows that she doesn’t use them as much.
“Once, she came to me and said, ‘Mum, I’m not using this truck anymore. I want to give it to a kid who doesn’t have a truck,’ and I said, ‘That’s great. Put it by the front door and we’ll take it,’ ” the actress shares, adding that her daughter had one more request.
“Then she said, ‘No. I need to wrap it first.’ And she went and wrapped it,” Bell says. “I was so impressed that she understood that we don’t give people junk. We give people good items that we need.”
Adds the mother of two, “And that’s why I love Baby2Baby, because they really help delineate, what’s going to help people? This isn’t about giving people junk. It’s about giving people support.”
At home, Bell’s children are learning how to ride bikes. “[We] just popped some training wheels off,” she says of Lincoln’s newest skill. “At 3½, she started riding without training wheels, which my husband is thrilled about because he’s a motorcycle enthusiast. He says, ‘I’m going to get her a dirt bike!’ ”
The main focus in the house is communication, though — especially considering that two kids under 5 can have conflicting (or even too similar) needs.
“[There’s] a lot of conflict resolution in our house, because [at] 2 and 4, they want to play with the same things,” Bell says. “They want attention at the same times. So we just work a lot on communication.”
“Their school is really good at conflict resolution and personal space,” she explains. “My 2-year-old said to me this morning, ‘Mum, can I touch your body?’ And I said, ‘Yes, absolutely.’ And she brushed me on the shoulder. [Because] at school, you have to say that to other kids: ‘Can I touch your body?’ ”
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.COM.
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