April 14, 2011 08:00 AM

Landov

Actress … and author?

“I want to write a book, Everything Starts at the Playground,” Kelly Rutherford tells PEOPLE at The Garnier Cleaner Greener Tour Monday in Times Square.

The Gossip Girl star and mother of Hermés, 4½, and Helena, 22 months, explained why childrearing is so crucial.

“It’s very important. I think it’s really the best thing you can do to equip your kids, to travel with your children and teach them manners and how to deal with people is huge.”

Why that title? “Because it does start at the playground. You see the parents that don’t intervene, that don’t take the time to say, ‘No this is not appropriate behavior’ and this is why when you get older this won’t work. When they’re younger, they need to know.”

Rutherford also uses rewards to teach her little boy.

“I always say to my son the reason you get so many toys is because you’re a gentleman. I use the superheros to give examples of that. Superman helps little ladies across the street, he’s there to help people. Robin Hood, the same thing.”

Another parenting tip? “I tell him to visualize what he wants in his life. You can use the tools that are there that the kids love, as examples of how to be.” Rutherford, 42, explains. “We try to give examples in a nice way and an easy way that they can understand.”

The busy working mother laughed when she envisioned how she would fit being an author into her busy schedule: “It would be fun. I need time — I need a little Tuscan villa for six weeks.”

— Mary S. Park

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