As the daughter of a teacher, Sarah Michelle Gellar knows the important role educators play in children’s lives.
The “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star talked to HuffPost about parents’ relationships with teachers while promoting Lysol’s “Here for Healthy Schools” campaign — an initiative to equip classrooms with tools to fight germs, curb the spread of preventable illnesses and promote healthy habits among kids. Gellar and her husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., have a 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and 7-year-old son, Rocky.
“Often parents go into schools and complain, saying, ‘This child did this to my child!’ and, ‘We didn’t get this part in the play!’ But let’s just take a moment and appreciate what they’re giving your child because there’s nothing better than the gift of education,” said Gellar.
The actor encouraged parents to ask teachers if there’s any way they can help supply their classrooms or offer their unique skill set to enhance their students’ experience. “And just remember to thank teachers for what they do,” she added.
Gellar praised the #ClearTheLists campaign, which helps the public provide teachers in underserved communities with the supplies their classrooms need. “It’s one of the few times social media has been really good,” she said, noting that she was heartened by her followers’ response to a call to help a third grade teacher clear her supply wish list and even provide some copies of the “Harry Potter” books for her Wizarding World-themed classroom.
“Harry Potter” is also a big part of Gellar’s household. She said her kids love the series. And her daughter fittingly seems to be getting into some 1980s and ’90s nostalgia with her reading choices these days.
“They did this ‘Baby-Sitters Club’ redo, but it’s a graphic novel. It’s ‘Kristy’s Great Idea’ and all the same books I read as a child. My daughter is really into those right now,” Gellar said. “She was also into this book called ‘El Deafo’ about a bunny.” As far as children’s books, the mom said Dr. Seuss is her favorite author.
For Gellar, reading is a form of self-care. “That’s the one time I can shut my brain off and just put myself into another world.” She recently read “The Last Train to London” and is looking forward to diving into journalist Ronan Farrow’s new book.
Beyond reading, Gellar is also a fan of cooking, having released a cookbook called “Stirring Up Fun With Food” in 2018. When it comes to dinnertime, she said she’s not cooking separate meals for the kids.
“My kids are great eaters. We have a rule in our house that you have to eat something 10 times and then two times more before you can decide you don’t like it,” she explained. “So many kids say, ‘I don’t like that!’ But you have to develop a taste to find out. If you eat something 12 times and really don’t like it, odds are you really don’t like it. If you eat something once, maybe it’s the way it was prepared, maybe it’s the way you’re feeling that day so you have to give it time to understand. And food is such an important part of brain growth.”
That commitment to healthier options extends to Halloween.
“We’ve had a tradition since they were little, that we have a big bake day beforehand,” she said, noting that they make homemade treats and buy nice chocolate from a local, family-owned chocolatier.
“When we go trick-or-treating, we say, ‘You can take all the gross candy you want.’ But then when we come home, all the candy goes into a bin, and we ship it to the troops.”
She said her kids can have one or two pieces of candy from their trick-or-treating haul, but otherwise they enjoy their homemade treats and local chocolate.
Ultimately, Gellar believes that the key to promoting healthy habits is leading by example.
“I don’t want to tell them 50 times to wash their hands. When I come home, the first thing I do is wash my hands. They go, ‘Oh, yeah, I should do that,’ and then it becomes part of their habit, rather than me constantly just yelling something at them.”