Kristen Bell has learned how to broach the difficult topics with her kids.
“I think giving them the tools to understand that certain things happen at a young age” is important, Bell said. “We’re not morbid about it. We don’t talk about death, but she asks, we tell her.”
The topic came up because Shepard’s stepfather has prostate cancer. “We’re prepared as a family,” said the actress. “We have all sort of made peace with it, and we’ve talked to our kids about it. They know that Papa’s gonna die.”
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Lincoln has a particularly practical outlook on death. When Bell explained to her how a funeral works, Lincoln gave a response that made Bell proud: ” ‘Do I need to bring my gardening stuff? I have a shovel. Where do we do it? The side of the house?’ “
Bell reflected, “She was like, ‘Well, one of our own is going, I guess we all participate.’ Her frontal lobe was firing about how to handle this and I thought that was so wonderful for a 5-year-old.”
She also told Maron about why she doesn’t want her kids to have a religious understanding of death, explaining, “As a parent, in my life, what I really want to give to my kids is the science of it and the critical thinking of it.”
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Bell recounted the story of the time when Lincoln asked if she was going to die one day. “Dax and I both lost our breath for a minute and we were like, ‘This is the moment. This is the moment we start to spin the fantasy of something else — do we do it, or can we brave this water?’ ” she said.
Bell and Shepard, 43, told her, ” ‘We all die. That’s what happens. It won’t be for a hundred years, so you don’t need to worry about it.’ … She cried for about 10 seconds and then she went, ‘[Sniffles] Where are my PAW Patrol toys?‘ “
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The Good Place returns to NBC Sept. 27 with a special 1-hour premiere at 8 p.m. EST.