Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard have fast become my celebrity coparent role models, so any time they give an interview that is even remotely about their marriage or their kids, I devour every word as gospel and take diligent mental notes for my own household.
Kristen's latest nugget, however, was a tip I'd already mastered — and assumed any mom of two kids had, too. It seems so simple, but it's such a profoundly helpful technique that I want to be sure every mom with more than one child knows it:
"We tag team. We switch kids all the time," Bell told Us Weekly at an event this weekend. "If I'm talking to the 2-and-a-half-year-old and I'm done, I'll just be like, 'We've got to switch. I don't want to talk to this kid anymore.' It's not about perfection, but it is about being thoughtful and not reactive. So in order to not be reactive, we switch kids a lot."
Yep, it's as simple (and as game-changing) as that.
In our family dynamic, instead of us both suffering a toddler tantrum together, I will take one for the team and let my husband "tag out" to go snuggle with our baby, or if I'm going on three stressful bedtime routines in a row, he'll send me out of the room to tackle it solo. If, however, the baby's especially clingy and mama needs some space, I'll hand her over to her dad and instead sit down to color with our toddler.
Being able to take momentary breaks from the kid who is most frustrating us in the moment is especially helpful when we're at our breaking point. Kristen made this point perfectly clear in a recent Instagram of what her living room looked like one day:
"It feels awful when your kids ruin your house. It feels really, really awful," Bell told Us Weekly. "In those moments I go, 'Am I going to like myself more after calming cleaning this up and making them help me? Or am I going to like myself more after I blow at them because they dumped — or accidentally dumped — a big bucket of beads? Which outcome am I going to be happier with?'"
So, if you have two little ones at home and haven't done any divide-and-conquer-style kid-switching yet, what are you waiting for?