Idina Menzel Reveals She Loves 'Embarrassing' Her Son with This Sweet Lunchbox Tradition

"It's just a very anxiety-provoking time," Idina Menzel tells PEOPLE of sending her son Walker back to school during a pandemic, while discussing her partnership with Rice Krispies Treats

Idina Menzel
Photo: Rice Krispies

Idina Menzel is preparing to send her 11-year-old son Walker Nathaniel back to school.

In an exclusive interview with the Tony Award winner, 50, Menzel gives PEOPLE a glimpse at her family's morning routine, which includes a sweet lunchbox tradition.

"I was always a mom that wrote little love notes to my son, whether they're embarrassing him or not. My mom did it to me," she says while discussing her partnership with Rice Krispies Treats and their 365 Days of Love and Support Kits.

"They're focusing on the love and support our kids need and how asking the parents to really reflect on what it is in these times that maybe your kid needs that particular day and how they're feeling," Menzel says of the brand.

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The actress is participating in a giveaway through August 26, in which parents can enter to receive their own 365 Days of Love and Support Kit. The kit comes complete with a daily planner featuring inspirational prompts and a pen, perfect for the new limited-edition Rice Krispies Treat wrappers, which feature a heart-shaped space to write lunchbox notes. Anyone who enters also gets a special note from Menzel herself. Enter here.

Menzel also opens up to PEOPLE about the stressful situation of sending kids back to school during a pandemic. "I'm really glad that my son's going back to school. Knock on wood. That's a relief, although we don't know what to expect, and we hope they'll be safe, and teachers will be safe," she says.

Idina Menzel
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

"It's just a very anxiety-provoking time because we can't control anything. And we also can't plan very much. We're always taking everything day by day, and the world seems to just be changing at such a rapid pace. But, it's kind of a good life lesson," Menzel adds. "Just try to stay in the moment. So, that's what I'm trying to do for myself, stay in the moment, look for silver linings."

"All the extra quality time I got to spend with my family, the fact that I couldn't travel or go on tour this year very much afforded me real downtime to reflect and be introspective and be home with my family even more," she says.

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The Disenchanted actress is reluctant to dish out parenting advice, she says she can "relate, commiserate, empathize with parents" about this unique time to be raising a kid.

"It was actually really liberating when I became a mom, because everything was so focused on the self. And when you had these beautiful, little humans that you have to worry about, it teaches you priorities and perspective," she muses.

"And you screw up every day in some way. But if you come from a place of love and forgiveness and try to be a stable, strong sort of rooted tree for your kids, and they know that you're not going to — you may bend — but you're not going to break," notes Menzel. "I think that's the greatest way to show them that you will always be there and that you love them."

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