I have a five-year old (beautiful) daughter who is in Kindergarten. I know children of her age need ten to twelve hours, varying on the individual. She's near the top of the range. Its fairly easy to get her to go to bed and when she's had her appropriate amount of sleep, she is either woken easily or wakes herself up and gets going well.

My trouble is this:

  • Her bedtime is 7:30 PM
  • Her school starts at 8 AM
  • For reasons not divulged here, we leave the house between 7:35 AM and 7:40 AM but there is room to push that a bit later
  • Her natural rhythm has her being wake-able starting somewhere between 7:15-7:30 (by this I mean she either wakes up herself before I can or I wake her and she gets up fairly easily)
  • We eat a small breakfast (water and some primarily grain or fruit dish) and do other preparations (brush teeth, get dressed, get ready to leave, clear off the car in winter, etc...)

So the mornings tend to be a busy, relatively. Ideally, I'd like to reduce that and make the mornings calmer but that seems difficult given the sleep/time constraints and the activity list. Should I just be content in the (pretty easy) lot I have until she gets older and sleeps less or is there some optimization or reduction I could make to reduce the 'mad dash' in the mornings?

  • Are you telling me you can get your 5 year old to dress, eat, brush teeth and out the door in less than 30 min (even if it is busy)? How? I want to know! I honestly can't get 2 kids (2.5 and 5) from up to out the door in less than 60 min - and that includes me getting up 30 min before the kids.
    – Ida
    Jan 5, 2016 at 19:22
  • 1
    I'd bet the 2.5 is the bottleneck? My alarms go off and I (hopefully) wake up significantly before her. I don't tip toe while I am awake. I think that helps her subconsciously start waking up. Breakfast is small; cereal at most. She gets dressed and prepped by herself and faster than I can. And the last two tasks, brushing teeth and out the door for winter, are where the "mad rush" occurs. As a single father, it is a blessing that she is so easy to manage in the morning. I feel bad for her with the occasional rushing.
    – Lan
    Jan 6, 2016 at 0:26
  • For the last bit out of the door, while not always working, I usually simply say: I am going to put on my jacket and shoes and take my stuff to the car. You need to put on shoes and jacket. If they are not on by the time I'm back, I will carry you to the car, shoes or not. Usually that makes my 5 year old stop playing and start the process. It does still feel like rushing, though. (and you are correct, much of the bottle neck with the dressing and so forth is the 2.5 year old).
    – Ida
    Jan 7, 2016 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


School and work schedules make getting your child enough sleep really tricky, if you want to spend any time with them awake, don't they?

Anyway, I'd suggest a few things. You've said you can leave a little later, so why not do that?

You can also do any tasks that don't require your daughter to be awake ahead of time. Clear off the car, set up her breakfast, do any other tasks you need to do while she's still sleeping. Maybe start a habit of her laying out her clothes for the next day, and packing up what she can in her backpack, the night before.

Hope that helps:)

  • Some people set most of the breakfast table in the evening. We have stuff that goes on the table in a tray in the cupboard, this makes for faster clearing the table in the morning.
    – Ivana
    Nov 30, 2023 at 21:13

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