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How is Your Family Doing While Social Distancing?

Here are some ideas to keep your family busy while social distancing.

Nashville, Ark. – The first presumptive case of Covid-19 happened on March 11. Soon after, schools closed, businesses closed, and our lives changed dramatically. Families found ways to reconnect. They played board games, completed puzzles, cooked together, watched movies together, etc. Since the crisis has lasted longer than anyone imagined, it may be time to reassess your family and see how they are doing.

            Do you find your children spending more time than you would like playing video games or on the phone? You may want to limit the time they are on digital devices to ensure you have plenty of quality family time. Setting limits for screen time, especially for younger children, as well as setting rules for how and when screens are used are important and necessary boundaries. However, all screen time is not created equal. Sometimes, a screen can even be helpful in bringing the family together; it’s all in how you use it. Here are some ways to plug in together as a family:

  • Play games together. If your child likes to play video games, play with them. Let them teach you how to play. Younger children usually love to spend time together. They enjoy teaching you what they know. Older children also benefit. Spending quality time lets them know their parents care about them.


  • Get active indoors. Some video games can provide exercise. Most virtual reality games will get you up and moving. Choose ones that are designed for the age of your child. These games provide an opportunity for families to be silly and laugh a lot!
  • Have a family movie night. Sit together and watch a movie. You might even consider having a living room floor picnic as you watch your favorite family show. Let your children plan the evening. Then put your phone somewhere you will not be tempted to pick it up. Remember the goal is to connect.
  • Use your devices to stay in contact with distant family or friends. You may live far away from grandparents, aunts and uncles, or close friends. Use your device to have a family call with someone you love! FaceTime, Skype, Duo or similar apps allow you to visit and see who you are talking to. It will definitely make a difference in your conversation.

Turning off the screens and spending time together is an absolute must for families. Limit the time you spend in front of devices. Remember it is important to get outside and play, take a walk, play a board game, cook a meal, or just sit down and talk. The year 2020 has definitely been a challenge. Build family memories that, as you look back in the future, you will say, “I remember it as one of the best times!”

For more information on parenting issues, contact the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture at or visit the Howard County Extension office located on the second floor of the courthouse. You can also contact me by phone at 870-845-7517 or email We have lots of information on parenting that is free of charge.

Recipe of the Week

Need a cool dessert for hot summer days? Try this one from Payeton Bagley, a member of the Show N Shine 4-H Club. She made this for the recent Dairy Foods Contest. She placed third in the Junior Party Idea division.

Easy Frozen Strawberry Dessert

3 c. graham cracker crumbs

¾ c. unsalted butter, melted

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

½ c. powdered sugar

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. heavy whipping cream

1 c. diced strawberries

2 ½ c. pureed strawberries

Spray a 9x13-in. pan with non-stick spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press half of mixture into bottom of 9x13 pan. Save rest for later. Place the whole strawberries in a blender and puree for about 1-2 minutes. In a medium bowl, beat heavy whipping cream 1 minute at a low speed, then at high speed until stiff peak forms, about 4 minutes. Set aside. In a large bowl beat cream cheese and powdered sugar at a low speed until creamy, then add condensed milk, vanilla and pureed strawberries and beat until combined. Add whipped cream and beat until well combined. Fold in diced strawberries. Spread over the graham cracker layer. Sprinkle with the rest of the graham cracker crumbs. Yield 18 servings.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.