"I think every parent is realizing how hard it is to be a teacher," says John Legend, opening up to PEOPLE in this week's cover story on kindness amid crisis

By Janine Rubenstein
March 25, 2020 01:00 PM

It’s a difficult time for all, but John Legend and Chrissy Teigen are trying to make the most of being inside during the current health crisis in America.

Opening up to PEOPLE in this week’s cover story about kindness amid the coronavirus pandemic, the reigning Sexiest Man Alive revealed what things have been like on the stay-at-home front for him, Teigen and their kids Luna Simone, who will be 4 next month, and Miles, 22 months. He also shares details of what it was like opening their home to the world for his recent virtual concert.

Currently at their home in Los Angeles, “Everybody’s fine so far,” says Legend. “We’re just trying to keep the kids entertained and stay safe and stay at home, but so far so good.”

Like many parents, Legend, 41, and Teigen, 32, have found themselves doubling as daycare and pre-K teachers in the wake of school closures. “It’s not easy,” says the singer. “I think every parent is realizing how hard it is to be a teacher.”

One thing the couple is making sure is on the lesson plan: proper hygiene. “We talk a lot about washing hands. We used to do that plenty before, but now it just takes on extra urgency.”

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For her part, little Luna is still working to master covering up her cough. “Sometimes she’ll forget and it goes out into the air and I’m like, ‘Listen, we’re not doing that.'”

Legend, who paused briefly during this interview to greet son Miles who’d entered the room (“Whenever he walks in a room he has to make sure everybody knows he’s there”), says luckily they’ve got some resources at their disposal to aid in home schooling.

The Stephens Family
| Credit: Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

“The school that they go to is helping by sending little activities and things and the music teacher sends songs for us to do with them,” Legend says. For outdoor activities, “We’re fortunate enough to have a pool and a beach right behind the house so occasionally. But just keeping them entertained and engaged all day, it’s a lot!”

Legend and Teigen know all about engaging and entertaining people. To the delight of scores of fans, the couple opened up their home last week for Legend’s now viral Together At Home virtual concert in partnership with Global Citizen. The star sat at his home piano in a robe and dazzled fans with his hits and favorite covers as Teigen provided jokes, jabs and colorful wardrobe changes, all to raise money for the World Health Organization‘s fight against the current pandemic.

“All our fans are stuck at home, too and we want to connect with them somehow,” says Legend. “And also spread some love, some cheer and spread the message that we’re in this together and need to stay home together, while raising money for people who are really going to be struggling through this situation.”

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s livestream
| Credit: John Legend/ Instagram

As for what went on behind the scenes of his home show, “I was warming up right beforehand, just getting my voice ready like I always do,” says Legend. “and I had to make sure I knew how to operate Instagram Live because I’d never done it before.”

When it came to Teigen, “She kind of thought it was going to be like a telethon so she decided to take fake calls and have a fake money board. That was all her. It was funny.”

Legend says his work with Global Citizen and other charities like local food is something that comes naturally to him. “My parents raised us to believe even if you don’t have a lot, you should give. My dad worked at a truck factory and a union job his whole career. But whether it was helping folks at the church or taking in foster kids, we did whatever we could. I’ve always felt like that was part of my mission as an artist.”

And the kindest thing everyone can do right now, says Legend, is keep others safe. “We have to think about how our actions affect the whole society that we live in. And we need our government to do what it can to help. Hopefully it will.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.