"The gratitude is what is getting us through absolutely every single day," Hilaria Baldwin tells PEOPLE of the coronavirus lockdown with her family

By Jen Juneau
August 17, 2020 01:10 PM
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Alec and Hilaria Baldwin definitely have their hands full at times with four young children to look after and another on the way — but they wouldn't have it any other way.

"The best thing about having a big family is there's just so much love," Hilaria, 36, tells PEOPLE. "They say when you have one kid, you're like, 'I could never love another person as much as I love this kid.' Then you have another one and you realize you can. And that doesn't change as you have more and more and more."

While the fitness guru and Mom Brain podcast co-host says "eventually [they] will stop" expanding their family (which also includes Alec's daughter Ireland, 24), having a full house means "there's always something exciting going on" and "always people being able to play" with each other.

"I'm really grateful for my kids having playmates in the house during this time [of the coronavirus pandemic] when they have to social distance from most people in their lives," Hilaria shares. "So it's been really lovely and I feel very grateful. The gratitude is what is getting us through absolutely every single day. We're so lucky in so many ways — number one, having our health, having our family, my family having their health."

"And you really just [have to say], 'Hey, we're gonna hunker down and we're gonna wait this out. We're gonna give time for all the experts and scientists and doctors to figure out what our next move needs to be. And in that time, we need to be patient and together,' " she adds.

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A recent parenting win for Hilaria and Alec, 62, has been with their son Leonardo Ángel Charles, who turns 4 next month, learning to express his anger in a more effective (and safer) way.

"Three is a really tough age — they get so emotional and sometimes they hit or throw things — and I try to stay as calm as possible to preserve everybody's safety and I will force him to use his words," Hilaria says. "Even if I have to spoon-feed him the words — 'I am angry right now and that's why I did this' — and little by little, I find that he's starting to come [around] to it."

"The other day he said to me, 'Mommy, such-and-such happened, and I used my words,' " recalls The Living Clearly Method author. "So he's getting really excited to use his words and very proud of himself. And I was like, 'Oh my God, it's actually working.' "

As the pandemic continues to unfold in the United States, Hilaria says her "trick" for keeping her kids "active and full of imagination is [to] take a deep breath, stay calm" and "get interested in what they do" as opposed to trying to force specific activities onto them.

The Baldwin family
| Credit: Hilaria Baldwin/Instagram

"I was so worried all the time about having to come up with the best activities or the best field trip or something like that. And I realized they're full of ideas, and if I get on their page and roll with it and encourage it, they just go for it and their imagination is really incredible just on its own as you lead it," she tells PEOPLE.

It helps that her funny bone is constantly tickled by Leo and his siblings: Romeo Alejandro David, 2, Rafael Thomas, 5, and Carmen Gabriela, who turns 7 later this month.

"They make me laugh all the time, and I think that's really what you have to embrace with being a parent — especially being a parent to so many, and especially being a parent in the times of Corona, because you just have to laugh," Hilaria says. "If you don't laugh, you cry. So I'm constantly trying to laugh."

"Romeo, right now, is all into [saying], 'I hate this.' I'm like, 'What other 2-year-old says "I hate this."?' " she quips. "I'll be like, 'Would you like such-and-such for dinner?' He's like, 'I hate this.' I'm like, 'How did you just turn 2?' But you know what? At least he's honest!"