If your busy family struggles to make family dinner work, Jake Frost has a suggestion to make time together around the table: snack-time in the evening!
I love family dinner. It’s just the best time: everyone gathered around the table, all together, good food, conversation, laughter, good times.
But: it’s harder and harder to make that happen these days.
When the kids were younger, we had family dinner together every night, and it was wonderful.
Nowadays, with the kids having various practices, rehearsals, clubs, social outings and what-not, it’s harder to make it happen.
My wife and I do so much running around, we sometimes wave to each other as we pass on the road, one going one way, the other the other, driving kids here-and-there, picking-up and dropping-off.
Sometimes we get home to drop one child off only to turn right back around and head out the door to get another.
The upshot is that our dinners, in this season of life, tend to be eaten on the run, in shifts, by ones and twos, depending on who’s home at any given moment and when we have to be back out on the road.
The crockpot has become our friend!
There are blessings in all the bustle. We’re fortunate to have a great school and so many opportunities for our kids. And it’s wonderful the kids are active and interested and excited about so many different things. Plus, it’s super fun to watch the kids in their games, or giving speeches, or performing in shows, or doing whatever else it is they happen to be up to at any given moment.
It’s fun to be a part of it all as they begin spreading their wings and adventuring out into the bigger world.
I also know the hecticness of this moment is a limited season of life that will soon be gone, and every season has its particular blessings and challenges, so I want to appreciate and enjoy what is unique about this time while it’s here.
And on top of all that: we do have a crockpot!
Just another blessing to be aware of.
Still, I miss our family dinners.
But I stumbled on something that has been a wonderful pinch-hitter for us to fill in for my beloved, but temporarily tough to realize, family dinner: snack time in the evening!
Everyone is home by late evening when bedtime is approaching, and the kids have always loved a big bowl of “pop-pop” (their private slang for popcorn, devised when they were little). So in the evening before bed, we all gather at the table for a bowl of pop-pop (or some other snack) and sit together and talk.
It’s just the best. There is so much fun, excitement, zany jokes, and news shared in that time we have together before bed.
Sometimes too much—once we get going proceedings can run late!
As fun as it is, sometimes I have to cut it off so we can our sleep, too!
I hear more about their days and interests and questions and what’s on their mind during snack-time than all the rest of the day put together.
It’s a great way for everyone to keep connected, and it’s just plain fun.
As I was popping up the pop-pop the other night, my youngest heard the sound and came running. “Don’t you just love snacking around the table together talking?” he asked. “It’s so great.”
It has been great for our family, and if you find your family on the go these days I hope it can work for you, too!
Copyright 2022 Jake Frost
About the Author
Jake Frost is a husband, father of five, attorney, and author of seven books, including the fantasy novel The Light of Caliburn (winner of an honorable mention from the Catholic Media Association), collections of humorous family stories ( Catholic Dad and Catholic Dad 2), poetry (most recently the award winning Wings Upon the Unseen Gust), and a children’s book he also illustrated, The Happy Jar.