Solving Driving Problems with Shnacks

snacksDriving in Chicago has its challenges.

My husband thinks there are too many aggressive drivers and my friends think there’s too much traffic. But I think the most challenging and dangerous part of driving in Chicago are my children.

Sometimes it is truly not safe for me to be driving when my boys are fighting or giggling out of control in the back seat. After nicely asking them to be quiet, after counting to three, and even after I announce the consequence of no TV, I do what I have to do to drive safely – I give my kids a shnack.

I was first introduced to the concept of a shnack by local mom and blogger Melissa Sher at, which is an online dictionary where Melissa posts words about pregnancy, parenting, and, of course, poop. It’s hilarious.

As corny as it sounds, she had me at shnack, which is defined as…

“SHNACK n. [Fr. shhhh + snack]: The food given to children to quiet them. Example, ‘Mommy is on the phone, have another shnack.'”

Or in my case “Mommy is driving and trying not to kill anyone, have another shnack.” Yes, I’m willing to admit, when I need peace and quiet in the car I feed my kids.

I’ve tried feeding their souls in the car with relaxing meditation music – it didn’t work. I’ve tried putting them in different rows in the minivan – it didn’t work especially because I couldn’t get food to the back seat fast enough. I’ve tried using my nice mommy voice and my not-so-nice voice. But the only guaranteed solution is to never leave my house without some sort of shnack. Fruit leather, apples, cereal, juice boxes, and crackers are usually my top picks.

I have not yet decided if this makes me a good mommy, a smart mommy, a crazy mommy, or a lazy mommy. But I know it works and I feel safer (for all of us) when they are quietly eating and I am focusing on driving.

Safety first, right?

Do you have a guaranteed solution for peace and quiet in your car?

photo credit: theloushe

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About Stacey Hoffer Weckstein: Stacey Hoffer Weckstein is a Heart-Centered Social Media Strategist & Coach for Conscious Women Entrepreneurs. She is the founder of the Inspiring Moms Network, Inspiring Social Media Inc. & Chicago Spa Moms. Stacey uses social media as a tool to shift the consciousness and happiness of moms around the world. She share’s her mind, body, and spirit adventures as a lifestyle blogger at and on Twitter at View author profile.

Comments (7)

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  1. Lisa says:

    I don’t drive in chicago at all, i can’t handle it. But i use snacks for longer drives to stop the bickering etc.

  2. Garima says:

    Shh.nack… ingeniouis! Well… I have one kid just under three… and her facination towards songs and color of cars is growing… so far we have been lucky andj ust point and ask her to repeat the car colors she spots and we ignore her responses and continue in the adult conversations!

  3. I actually had to STOP giving my kids snacks in the car because they started to DEMAND them upon being strapped in.

  4. Mine demand snacks in the car too. I tried removing them from the car altogether, but for everyone’s safety, shnacks had to return to my car.

  5. As my kids get older, shnacks had become more of the electronic toys. I will take whatever I can to have a little peaceful drive. :)

  6. Emily says:

    I did the put-the-kids-in-different-rows thing to stop the constant bickering/touching/breathing on each other. That kind of worked. I will admit to bringing my 4 year old’s Leapster in the car for longer trips. My older child can daydream for ages.

  7. Susan @ 2KoP says:

    Audiobooks. We drive to Florida (me and four kids) at least three times a year. 23 hours minimum each way. Audiobooks have saved our lives. For younger kids, try the ones from Rabbit Ears Radio (oh, how I miss that series). You can even download them to your iPod from the library!

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