Jennifer Garner On Being "Chill," Giving Her Kid An "Old Laptop," & More Parenting Advice

Photo: Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock.
Jennifer Garner's most important alias of the past decade has definitely been her role as a mother. The 44-year-old has three children (Violet, 10, Seraphina, 7, and Samuel, 4) with ex-husband Ben Affleck. While Affleck often looks forlorn and sad, Garner is very focused on creating a positive narrative around her home life.

Most recently, she appeared on Today to give an update on her kids and share a few parenting tips she's picked up throughout the years. Garner also talks about how she is bracing herself for the more complicated "tween" years with Violet, who will be entering middle school next year. She's also practicing on being more "chill."

Though of all the changes in her life, Garner has tried to keep one constant: one-on-one time with her kids, even making bedtime a priority. "I try to make bedtime sacred, to have some alone time with each kid every night, when it is possible," she said in the interview. "Except for the nights when it’s not possible. I work, and I have a job that means that sometimes I have to go out at night, and sometimes I need to go out at night just for me." Garner's totally right in recognizing that self-care is a crucial step towards overall family happiness.

In terms of dealing with her nearly teenage daughter, Garner understands that now is the time to start investing in her future. The first step? An "old laptop," because kids these days now do their homework on computers and other strange devices. Who knew? She explained the situation and why she's low-key freaking out about it (one word: Instagram): "We just had back to school night, and I said afterwards, 'Do they need a computer?' They need some kind of device or computer to complete their homework. Our daughter doesn’t have any of those things, and she’s, like, the only kid in the class who doesn't, apparently. So I found an old laptop this weekend for her, and I am kind of panicked about it. She’s not on social media yet — her school has a no social media policy until 6th grade — but I know it's coming soon."

Coming full circle, Garner says she is reusing her old tricks from when her kids were just babies. "It's like when they were babies, and you knew they needed to burp, but they just wouldn't," Garner explained. "You want to say to them, 'You would be so much happier if you would just burp!' It's the same when I am waiting for my kids to say something I know is bothering them. The trick now is just to be available — and in a chill way — to receive it when they finally do."

And there is the magic word for being a good parent in 2016: just be chill, mom. And buy your kid a new but kind of old laptop.
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