A great idea I got from an old magazine from last year. I was hoping to file it away in my brain, but you know how that goes... poof! It's gone!
So anyway, the mother had older children who were leaving tons of dishes in the sink, and they were running the dishwasher at least twice a day. (which is what we do in our home lately!) This lady had the best idea! She had the kids decorate their own cup and a deep dish/plate that would work for soups, cereal, and regular meal stuff. (like at those paint your own ceramic places)
They only got one dish and one cup. They then taught the kids how to properly hand wash their dishes after eating. It sounds like a great solution! They have to wash their own dishes if they want to eat the next meal... and if they procrastinate they will learn how hard it is to scrape dried oatmeal off of dishes! Perfection!
So in a few years I will be going over to this system. (drooling over the idea of kids picking up after themselves)