Ryan Reynolds stresses the importance of telling his kids ‘everything’

Some parents have secrets. And some parents are Ryan Reynolds. The dad of 4 children with wife Blake Lively has been candid about his parenting advice since February when he got real about the chaos of parenting four kids including their new baby. Now, he’s talking strategy, and it revolves all around “self awareness,” he told PEOPLE.

The 46-year-old actor says he talks to them about everything, and takes a “huge interest” in their days and how things are going. They share details with their kids about their daily routines, and carve out intentional time to chat.

“For me, the best time of my day is walking them to school and walking them back,” he says about his kids, who range from around 8 months old to age 8.. “I think as parents, we are so much better equipped to handle the rigors of childhood through our kids now than when I was a kid. It’s just totally different now. People are much more self-aware. And that’s the thing we sort of hang our hat on the most is self-awareness with our kids. Not be happy, not be anything, just be self-aware and welcome everything in.”

The Deadpool actor has been a stay-at-home dad in the past, and knows those trenches well — he says it was “hell.” And while he’s just about as funny as real as a celeb dad can get, Blake’s public swooning about his super-dad status has us believing that Ryan is a “real” parent, like the rest of us mortals. So, take one from Ryan’s book, and head out for a walk to school with your kid, taking a second to enjoy the sweetest parts of parenting. As he once said,  “Look, we wouldn’t do this four times if we didn’t love it.”