Alexa PenaVega is leading by example when it comes to teaching her kids about faith.
“The best way I could teach them about faith was just operating in my faith in front of them,” PenaVega told Fox News Digital.
“Obviously, we talk about stories of the Bible. That’s fun and exciting. But I think the biggest thing is, what does the relationship with God look like? Because there’s learning about the Bible, but then there’s real relationship.”
PenaVega said her own relationship changed from childhood, when she did the “typical Sunday morning check-the-box” version of faith, to later in her 20s, when she started “deep diving with God” and saw there was more to learn.
Now she demonstrates that practice for her kids.
“I pray out loud all the time,” she explained. “I’ll be cooking, and they’ll hear mama talking to God. I will be cleaning, and they will hear me talking to God. And it’s really great because it’s gotten them to a place where they know they can go to God for absolutely anything and everything.”
PenaVega joked that her children — Kingston, Ocean and Rio — with husband Carlos PenaVega, are applying that lesson to video games, but it doesn’t bother her.
“They’ll be trying to get through a level, and they’re like, ‘Please God, Jesus, Jesus, please just help me get through this.’ And I’m cracking up because the innocence of their heart behind the ask. I love it because I’m like, ‘You know what? No, nothing is too small.’ And I love that they’re going to Jesus just to get past this level in their game.”
WATCH: ALEXA PENAVEGA ON MODELING A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD FOR HER CHILDREN
The PenaVegas, who met in Bible study, grew up in the entertainment world. PenaVega rose to fame in the “Spy Kids” franchise, while Carlos was a star on the Nickelodeon series “Big Time Rush” and a member of the band of the same name.
The actress said she and her husband “had pretty decent experiences in the industry” and credits the communities they were surrounded by for giving them “a strong foundation.”
“Obviously, this industry is not set up for faith-based people,” she added. “It’s not really set up for families. I mean, if you think about it, most of the time families are leaving for months at a time. They’re split up. It’s really hard. We’ve really found a special way to make it work for our family. And because our kids are growing up seeing how it works for us.”
Because of that, PenaVega said she would be comfortable with their kids following in their parents’ entertainment footsteps.
“If they wanted to jump in and get in the entertainment industry in any way, I feel like they have a strong enough foundation where they can hold their own,” she said. “And I wouldn’t worry about them being involved in this industry. But also, right now, I have one that wants to be an astronaut and one that wants to be a firefighter. So, who knows where they might go?”
PenaVega is also showing her children the importance of giving through her work with World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization she’s been donating to and sponsoring families through for several years.
“The whole point about World Vision is they want to empower families to not need handouts. They want to empower them to figure out, ‘How do we get you on your feet again and on your own?’” she said.
This year, PenaVega is showcasing the “Seeds of Change” bracelet in the charity’s gift catalog, something close to her heart and Colombian roots.
“Most of my family is from Bogotá, and there are these artisan jewelry makers. And they found that these people who make these beautiful bracelets out of melon seeds. And they just thought, ‘You know what? This is a perfect opportunity,’” PenaVega said.
“We’re empowering them. We’re giving them opportunities to really be able to stand on their own two feet while giving them a leg up, helping them out in their situation, but really allowing them to be able to grow beyond World Vision. And I love they’re like the whole point behind what they’re trying to do.”
WATCH NOW: ALEXA PENAVEGA ON GIVING BACK WITH WORLD VISION
Demonstrating the power of giving to her kids is key because “all of this is a gift.”
“Your heart changes when you show up for other people,” she said. “We also have three young children, so we try to do everything with them. We work with a lot of other organizations, and we try to volunteer as much as we can and bring them along with us. And they have truly taken in the joys of giving. There’s nothing like it.”
“I feel like it’s a limitless place of giving that occurs because you realize all of this is a gift. Everything we’ve been given is such a blessing from God. So, who am I to be stingy and hold something back? Because, at the end of the day, if somebody needs to be provided for and you can do that, I know that I can freely give knowing that I will be covered.”
PenaVega’s life has been freer to focus on her faith and family since her move to Maui in 2017.
The island faced a devastating wildfire this year that destroyed hundreds of homes and claimed 97 lives.
The “Sleepover” star said her home was spared by “an absolute miracle,” and the family has “cared about all of Maui for years and years.”
Coincidentally, a year ago the PenaVegas released a children’s book, “Ocean’s World,” about a boy living on the island and learning through his adventures.
PenaVega found the timing significant because, “we’re talking about places, all of our favorite spots on Maui, and these are spots that unfortunately went through a really, really rough time this last year.”
The 35-year-old noted much of the island has “a long road to recovery.”
“It’s heartbreaking because this is our home, is our community, lots of friends who have lost their homes,” she said. “But the community is incredible. It’s very tight-knit. And the unity there is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”