I thought I'd just let you in to a little insight of the Wickman world. We try to make things fun yet learning.
Recently Mom and Dad came over for an evening. A typical Monday night in the Wickman home. They realized how much we use timers. Instead of battling with the kids on how long they are on the computer or TV we use a loud ringing kitchen timer. We all know when the time is up. No arguments. We also use a timer for brushing teeth. No more two seconds over the teeth. They probably don't brush the whole 2 minutes the timer is going, but they certainly brush longer than they did. AND we don't have to nag.
We ALSO use a timer for dinner. That one is a BIG HUGE help for us. You see, if you can't tell by our seriously skinny kids, they don't really like to eat and had a hard time doing it without saying "yuck" or "how much more do I have to eat?" or "how many more bites". James and I too felt like we were constantly nagging the kids during a meal to keep eating. It really made dinner time long and we ended up irritating each other. So, in order to teach a couple things, the first being manners. Our new rules are: The phrases I quoted above are no longer allowed. They don't have to eat all of the their food, but in the time that we set, and it changes from meal to meal depending on the food, they have to eat what they think is enough. Which is: and they know this, at least trying two whole bites of something new and eating a good majority of the other food. This seems to be working because except one meal, they have eaten EVERYTHING on their plate! James and I feel so much better taking them to someone's home for a meal because we know because we play the timer game at home they are at least going to try the food in front of them and we won't feel like crawling under the table after hearing the word Yuck.
So, while timers are going off all over our home every evening, we have a happy smooth running home most nights now :) At least for the time being.