As parents around the country grapple with potential school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are among those who panicked when they learned their kids won’t return in the fall.
“I think all of us in L.A. had a moment of, ‘Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. We can’t do another five months of Zoom schooling,’” Shepard says with a laugh to Yahoo Entertainment on Friday. “But we will!”
The Armchair Expert podcast host, who shares daughters Lincoln, 7, and Delta, 5, with the actress, admitted quarantine was an adjustment for them at first.
“We had a real rocky first three weeks,” shares Shepard, who’s promoting his summer partnership with Planet Oat. “We’re a well-oiled machine at seeing each other two-and-a-half hours a day. We nail that, but when we went to 18 [hours] there were some adjustments to be made.”
Shepard continues, “It’s the lesson I like to relearn in marriage every three months, which is be vulnerable, be honest, communicate. These are all things I believe in, but it’s just so easy when things are trucking along to not do all that stuff. Then, of course, dynamics change and it just requires even more communication and even more vulnerability. It works out, but it took me three weeks to be willing to do that as it took her that long.”
Add in the element of kids not going to school and even celebrities aren’t immune to chaos in their households.
“The Zoom schooling was rough,” Shepard says. “Certainly I was the worst at it. Kristen was better at it, but I don’t think she loved it either. Once that went away — we were like now we’re just a unit hanging out, this is great! There’s no guilt about what we’re supposed to be doing.”
The actor says their unit has “really been humming along,” now. The girls, he explains, aren’t as impacted by the pandemic as he and Bell.
“I always try to remind myself, like, this isn’t shocking to them. This is their childhood. Everything in my childhood was ‘normal’ because it’s the only one I knew,” he explains. “They’re not really comparing 45 years without ever having a quarantine to having one. They’re comparing five years. So, it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal for them. They wear masks, they don’t care.”
Shepard laughs, “If they weren’t wearing masks they would be wearing a towel around their head or a shirt over their neck acting like it’s a scarf, that’s what they do anyway.”
The Shepard-Bell crew will be doing remote learning this fall from the road, if all goes according to plan. The Bless This Mess star said they have a deposit down on a motor home and assuming it clears inspection, they’ll be “tooling around the country while the kids are plugged into Zoom.” They just went on a little test run as Shepard’s work on Top Gear America has picked back up.
“We were just in Sedona [Arizona] for 12 days with another family we [quarantine] pod with and it was heaven. We just had the best time ever,” he says. “We just road tripped, then we rented a house and it was heaven.”
The other family in the quarantine pod is the Hansens, as in Bell’s Veronica Mars co-star, Ryan Hansen, his wife, Amy Russell, and their three daughters.
“We have done everything with them for the last 13 years,” Shepard reveals. “We’ve only had a few vacations without them, we do everything with them. Our daughters are the same age, so they start playing together then we can actually play cards and stuff. I don’t understand families who vacation by themselves.”
But don’t expect Frozen to be playing on the road. Shepard said the girls prefer to watch Sing “over and over again.”
“They love Frozen, but they’re not like some of the other kids. I think because their mother is singing it, it’s just not as impressive. They’re more drawn to other stuff,” he says, explaining the girls very much understand their mom voices Frozen’s Anna.
“Of course if your mother is doing anything — your mother could have landed on the moon and you would have been like, ‘Oh, I guess people’s parents land on the moon, whatever.’ Again, it goes back to the ‘Whatever your situation is, is completely normal.’ That seems to be their level of impressed as far as Kristen being Anna.”
Shepard laughs that their kids would prefer they do cool game shows.
“They are kids. They want us to be on Floor is Lava,” he adds of the Netflix series. “I’m doing a voice in PAW Patrol: The Movie and they are kind of pumped about that because that’s their own discovery that I’m going to join. Kristen and I both did Story Pirates, this great podcast for kids that they love, and they were like — ‘Wait, you’re on Story Pirates?’ It has to be something they love that we then go join for them to be impressed.”
What the whole family is impressed by are Planet Oat’s Summer Kit and non-dairy frozen desserts.
“We’ve been crushing a lot of banana splits,” Shepard says. “Anytime we can sneak a fruit or vegetable into their meal it’s a huge victory.”
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