updated 04/22/2011 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/23/2011 AT 10:40 AM ET
Clever tactics are called for when it comes to skirting pesky paparazzi. Just ask Ryan Phillippe, who has some special tricks up his sleeve to shield 11-year-old daughter Ava and 7-year-old son Deacon – his kids with ex-wife Reese Witherspoon – from aggressive photogs.
“Sometimes we’ll make it a game,” Phillippe, 36, told PEOPLE at Thursday’s Tribeca Film Festival and Cinema Society Premiere of The Bang Bang Club in New York.
“I’ll be like, let’s sneak out the back and so they can’t get a picture of us. We’ll make it a little team effort thing that they can kind of get into.”
Both Phillippe, who since earlier this year has been linked to actress Amanda Seyfried, and Witherspoon, who married agent Jim Toth last month, take time making sure their children comprehend what the celebrity photographers are doing, he tells PEOPLE.
“Reese and I both do a lot of explaining,” says the actor. “I think the best thing you can do for kids in any situation is to over-explain even, and really go into detail and say, okay all they want is a photograph and it’s worth money to them because Mom does movies, Dad does movies.”
As for the kids, each reacts differently to being snapped. “My son is a little more carefree that way,” says Phillippe. “But she’s becoming a young woman. She’s 11 years old and she doesn’t want to be photographed and be seen by her friends in magazines all the time.”
For his part, in contrast to his daughter, Phillippe craves excitement, “I love drama. The reason I become an actor is because of that.”