"It's important to us that the kids know what's happening outside of the farm," Joanna Gaines said during a call-in to the Today show on Wednesday

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Credit: Joanna Gaines/Instagram

Life at home on the farm in Waco, Texas, certainly has its advantages for Chip and Joanna Gaines‘ family.

In a Wednesday call-in to the Today show, Joanna opened up to Hoda Kotb about her new cookbook Magnolia Table, Volume 2, as well as how the former Fixer Upper couple and their brood — sons Crew, 21 months, Duke, 11, and Drake, 15, plus daughters Emmie Kay, 10, and Ella Rose, 13 — are faring while they practice social distancing amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We’re doing good. The kids are loving the idea of getting to stay home and even doing school from home, and it’s spring on the farm right now so every baby animal you can think of is being born and everything is blooming,” said the mother of five, 41. “I feel like everything is coming back to life here. It’s been nice to just get outside.”

Joanna also says she and Chip, 45, have been open with their children about the virus, but encourage them to control what they can — like sending positive thoughts to those affected.

“It’s important to us that the kids know what’s happening outside of the farm,” she told Kotb, 55. “Right now it feels kind of protected, they’re sheltered. They don’t watch the news, they don’t have the stuff on their phones, they don’t know what’s really going on. So we’ve really sat and communicated just the seriousness of this and how we can be praying for people.”

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“For us, it’s important to bring them in, so they understand, and this is honestly something that none of us ever want to forget. This is a really big deal,” Joanna added.

In the meantime, the HGTV alums have had to get a little creative to keep their five kids entertained without having them resort to screens constantly.

“Every day, I’ll set cards out, puzzles, just to give them options,” Joanna said on Today. “I think originally the kids thought — especially the boys — ‘Oh, this is gonna be wonderful, we get hours and hours of game time.’ And I’m kind of a strict mom when it comes to that, so giving them ideas outside of screen time and stuff like that, I’ve had to put it in front of their face.”

“But last night, it was so cute: All four [oldest] kids were sitting there playing spades,” she recalled. “Chip and I just looked at them. They looked like this little card group. So it’s been fun watching them play together.”

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Joanna and Chip are “figuring out this new rhythm” at home, she told Kotb, but they’re not exactly sticking to a time-based routine because their children are doing it on their own.

“The kids all wake up at the same time. They tackle their homework,” she said. “It’s been interesting in that there’s no schedule and I’ve kind of loved that, as someone who typically likes everything scheduled and I know what’s coming. It’s been nice to let go and let things roll.”

As the family spends more time at home together, Joanna has seen “a whole other side” as a parent that she thinks is “really sweet,” explaining of how she wants to go forward when things become more normal again, “That’s something I want to hold on to, is just these sweet moments and not taking that for granted.”

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