My step-daughter is heading to school this year. Her pre-school hours last year were 9.30 until 2.30 and her school hours this year will be 9.00 until 3.30.

It will be quite a sudden change in routine for little miss, but as I haven't dealt with having a child in school before, what sort of routine should I start for her? I'm not really sure how long it will take to get ready as well as I will be preparing out boy for Kindergarten. Idea's for routine and an appropriate bedtime?

1 Answer 1


Our daughter started kindergarten this year and has to get up earlier so she and her brother can both get to their respective schools (he's in preschool) on time. We gamed out the routine for a couple of weeks prior to school, to work out bugs as well as determine about how long it will take to get them both ready to leave.

First, we started her on her new schedule (for waking up) so she had time to adjust. To help her get up on time every day, we got her a daylight simulator alarm clock, which helps her wake up on time without a loud alarm (she's highly sensitive to loud noises).

We also set up a routine for clothes/teeth/breakfast. Every Sunday she and I put out all her clothes for the week by day, so all she has to do when she wakes up is grab today's clothes and take them downstairs. As soon as she gets downstairs, she has breakfast ('cause she's super cranky until she eats). After she eats, she gets dressed, brushes her hair and teeth, and then gets some down time until it's time to go to school. Knowing her routine ahead of time, as well as about how long each step will take, seems to really help her proceed through the morning and get ready for school without a lot of drama.

Every night we choose (and pack, if appropriate) her lunch for the following day, and write it up on the whiteboard for easy reference. She bathes at night, and goes to bed in time to get a full 10 hours of sleep.

To make things easier when she hits a wall (she IS 5, after all), we have a set of incentives and consequences in place. If she goes through her routine without complaint, she gets puffballs in her jar (when the jar is full, she gets a special prize, like a trip to the zoo). If she drags around or stonewalls, she loses privileges (TV, internet, etc.). We delineated these clearly at the beginning of the school year, and regularly go over them to (a) make sure she remembers what the incentives and consequences are and (b) see if anything needs to be addressed.

So far, it's worked pretty well.

  • Oh wow thank-you! From your experience how many hours of sleep roughly worked?
    – user6421
    Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 3:28
  • Regardless of what time she goes to bed, she'll be up after 10 hours and be fine. If she gets to bed late, she's likely to at least try to sleep through her alarm. :)
    – Valkyrie
    Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 12:55

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