updated 02/04/2012 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 02/04/2012 AT 5:00 PM ET
Neil Patrick Harris and his partner David Burtka’s kids Gideon and Harper may only be 15-months-old – but that doesn’t impact the way the actor talks to them. It’s a parenting tip he says he picked up from his own mom and dad.
“My parents always talked to my brother and myself like we were regular people and not babies,” Harris tells PEOPLE. “So I don’t talk down to them in baby talk. I try to talk to them even though they can’t speak the language yet.”
As for their personalities, Harris says, “They’re thankfully in the new huggy, clingy, head-on-shoulders phase, which is fantastic. It’ll brighten up a sad day every single time.”
Harris, 38, and Burtka, 36, are enjoying a rare weekend off from parenting to take in the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, Ind., where they hung out at Audi’s Penthouse party at the Conrad Hotel on Friday night.
Though he Tweeted earlier in the day, “Very excited for a Super Bowl weekend in Indianapolis. Where should I go? I hear there’s a big football game on Sunday,” by evening, the actor’s urge to party appeared diminished.
“I was going to explore the city but there’s too many people here,” he tells PEOPLE. “I’ll probably just read a book. It’s madness!”