Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

As I write this, my darling daughters are 9 and 12 years old. It’s a great age for one very special reason: chores. More specifically: incentivised chores.

We have reached an agreement: for every month in which the girls put away the clean, dry dishes every morning before breakfast and every evening before dinner, without being asked, they earn one month’s membership of Animal Jam. So far, it’s working very well (just one week in).

It’s something of a relief to walk into a kitchen and NOT have to put away the dishes. Maybe it’s just me.

As long as I make sure I stay on top of the dish washing chore, the kitchen always looks fresh and ready for action. And seriously, washing a load of dishes takes no more than a minute or two. Really. I timed it. (I know). It doesn’t even take as long as heating something up in the microwave. (If you’re thinking, “I’ll bet she’s heating up another cup of coffee”, you’d be on the money ;). Keeps me sane.)

I have a simple trick for this: I never, EVER, fill the sink with warm soapy water and wash acres of greasy dishes. I run the hot tap, squirt some dish liquid on a scouring sponge, and wash dishes like I’ve got a full bladder and just can’t stick around that long. (Often this is actually true. I try to aggregate all my standing-up-from-the-desk activities into one efficient time slot ;).) The reason this works is because it feels like yo’re just quickly taking care of one or two small items for a friend while you’re on holiday in some fancy-pants resort, rather than actually doing a chore. Genius! You’re welcome.

So that’s my simple life hack: do the dishes as you go, whenever there are a few in the sink, I look the other way, say I won’t do them, then sneakily sneak up on myself and wash the whole lot before my coffee’s even warm enough to drink. Voilà! And the next time I turn around, the Dish Fairies have tidied the results of my efforts away, and everything looks all Stepfordy and ready for use. *Bliss*

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