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Stay-at-home advice from parents of 7

Updated: Apr. 20, 2020 at 5:44 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s hard keeping your kids entertained during the stay-at-home order. Maybe you’d have a better outcome with just one or two, but even my little cousin Jayla and her big brother Caleb put that to the test. So if you think your three kids are a handful, try being Stephen and Jill Norris. They have to entertain 7 kids each and every day.

Jill says you’d think the large family would be bored but there hasn’t been an ounce of boredom yet. So what’s their secret?

“I mean, our house isn’t 24 hours of this everyday with everybody sitting kind of nicely with everything put away. I mean, it is survival mode and just try to keep the best attitude about it and have a good time,” Stephen said.

“We’ve been trying to get in routines and make things smooth as possible with plenty of meltdowns in between,” Jill added.

Jill’s go-to secret is that she has a bachelor’s degree in family consumer science.

“I’ve been dusting off the old lesson plans a little bit and teaching them basic life skills like how to properly load a dishwasher, clothing care. We’ve been doing lots of cooking. The house always smells pretty good,” she said.

Stephen, on the other hand, is a lawyer. He uses his negotiating skills to invent new games like the one he came up with called roof ball.

“He had everyone go get a ball cap and we laid it on the ground outside and then he tosses the ball on the roof and once it falls into the hat, or you lay your hat where you think its gonna fall. He’s the only one that’s won so maybe its rigged. I don’t know,” Jill said.

Then there are other games like bean bag tournaments, walks around the neighborhood and the kids love The Masked Singer so they dressed up in disguise and the parents had to guess which child was performing. But what’s really exciting for Stephen and Jill is becoming closer to God during these times.

“We do a spirit-filled lesson called ‘Come Follow Me’. That has really brought us together spiritually,” Jill said.

And as for the kids, there are some pluses and minuses of this new experience.

Haley says its a lot different, especially if something is challenging. Heidi says sometimes it gets a little loud. Sadie says she miss my friends. Kate says its been something that she never thought would happen. Emmitt says they’ve done a few things they’ve never done before.

But there is one thing that Jill wants you to know: We are all in this together

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