Bryce Dallas Howard on Parenting and Getting Through Life: 'Therapy Is Awesome'

"My dad always said, 'Do you want to know why actors get paid so much money? So they could have a great therapist,' " Howard tells PEOPLE

For Bryce Dallas Howard, life is flying by fast and her kids are growing up even faster.

“Seeing my daughter articulate her thoughts and feelings is so interesting,” the Jurassic World star told PEOPLE of 3½-year-old Beatrice Jean at the Wednesday launch of Dreamworks’ animated cartoon, Dinotrux, streaming now exclusively on Netflix.

“A couple of days ago, my husband and I were putting her to bed and she said, ‘Mommy and Daddy, I’m so glad that you saw me at the store and brought me home.’ I was like, where on Earth did she get this? ‘Beatrice, remember, you chose us. You chose us and you grew in my belly and that’s how we met you.’ And she was like, ‘Oh, yes.’ ”

Bryce Dallas Howard

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The comedic moments with her children provide some relief for Howard, 34, who has also seen a shift in how her son Theo Norman, 8, socializes.

“He has a lot of really deep friendships,” Howard shares. “There’s this camp he wanted to go to because he knew the kids that were going. As parents it’s exciting because you want your kid to feel confident, but he could have run a little less fast on to the bus.”

She jokes, “I was like, ‘Oh, you’re not feeling the same heartbreak I am, I see!’ It’s shifting from Mommy and Daddy to people he cares about who he wants to spend time with.”

It’s obvious that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: This loving approach seems to run within the family. Self-love is a cornerstone for Howard in her everyday life and how she maintains a healthy mind and body.

“The worst thing you can ever do for yourself is diet. Because it disconnects yourself from your body and your body’s wisdom,” explains Howard. “I read this book, Intuitive Eating, and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to stop [dieting],’ and it’s been really good. I am listening and my body is settled.”

Howard takes a similar approach to exercise. “I’ve been much more active in terms of getting out and taking walks. But before I used to be like, ‘I have to get my cardio in.’ Now I don’t think like that. It’s like, ‘[I] need to go outside today.’ I just feel better about my body.”

In a beautiful do-unto-others manner, Howard has learned to afford herself the same respect she would give a close friend. “My body is like my best girlfriend, she gets me through life, she bounces back from pregnancies and when I have an injury she’s like, ‘I’m gonna heal fast,” she shares. “I would never turn around and insult someone who did that for me. It would be the worst thing.”

And as for where her philosophies on how to create such a peaceful life come from, it’s a little something she learned from her father, actor and director Ron Howard.

“Therapy is awesome,” she says. “My dad always said, ‘Do you want to know why actors get paid so much money? So they could have great therapists.’ ”

The mom of two has also learned to rely on her close friends, whom Howard — who struggled with postpartum depression after welcoming her son — turned to following the birth of her second child.

“It was so emotional for me because I didn’t feel comfortable asking for that kind of help,” she says. “For my friends and family, they were so glad that I did and it made me think back to the first one, they were all there. I am blessed that they did completely support me in all the ways.”

But despite being fully prepared for life with her newborn daughter, Howard admits her experience was completely different.

“I didn’t get [postpartum depression] the second time around and I was hell bent on making sure that I felt supported so that if I needed to, I would get help faster,” she explains.

“It was tricky because it’s hard to say, ‘Will you please consider maybe taking a couple of days off of work and spending some time with me right after the baby?’ We never really want to put people in our life out and it was moving for me that my friends and family were there for me.”

— Raha Lewis

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