What Age Should A Child Get Themselves Up and Ready For School?

kids going to school

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You’ve made it through the troublesome toddler years more or less in one piece. Now it’s time to muddle through the elementary school years.

The first thing you might be wondering is when is a typical age for a child to be getting themselves ready.

What Age Should a Child Start Getting Themselves Ready for School?

You can start as early as preschool (4 years of age) with training your child to get ready for by themselves in the morning with small tasks. As the child gets older and more mature you can slowly keep expanding what their morning responsibilities are.

Getting Ready for School

school things

You want to know when your child is going to be able to get themselves ready for school without your intervention.

That’s a complicated question without a clear answer. Some kids are able to do this from their early elementary school years while others are still being forced out of bed as teens.

If you want your child to be self-sufficient, you have to prep them for it. Start by setting an alarm for them from a very early age.

Teach them to get up when their alarm goes off, to get dressed and be prepared for the day before lounging. I started doing this with my kids when they went to nursery school at age three.

While it’s true that I didn’t have a lot of lazy mornings, by elementary school they were already accustomed to getting up early and starting their days strong.

Do Prep Work the Night Before

It should be a no-brainer but it needs to be said. All clothing should be picked out and laid out the night before the school day.

Otherwise, your child will either spend an hour changing clothes or they will go to school in pajamas, embracing the post-pandemic chic of comfort over fashion.

While there is something to be said for dressing for ease, I’m still not going to let my son leave the house in purple sweatpants, red socks and a stained, Nirvana t-shirt no matter how much I love Kurt Cobain.

Laying out clothes isn’t the only prep work you need.

Kids should have their backpacks filled and ready to go so they aren’t last minute-ing the random bits of paper that for some reason are still necessary despite the fact that they do all of their homework on tablets.

Having all of these tasks done before the morning starts will help kids of all ages have a stress-free morning.

The Reluctant Riser

kid with alarm clock

I talked with a mom last week who was bemoaning the fact that her teenage daughter still needs a full-contact wake-up call to get out of bed in the morning.

She told me that her daughter sets an alarm for 6:30 and sleeps through it until about 7:30. At that time, mom has to physically pull her daughter awake and threaten into leaving without her before she’ll finally arise.

There is one easy way to help with this. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep the night before.

In my family, we don’t allow any electronics in bedrooms. No tablets, laptops or even phones can cross the threshold. We also have strict bedtimes for kids – including the teenagers.

We can’t make them sleep once they’re in their rooms, but they have a much higher likelihood of sleeping than the child who is still on Youtube at 2 AM.

The Parent’s Role


You want your child to be able to take care of themselves but you still need to be there for them.

My daughter started getting herself up and ready for school around fourth grade. However, she still needs me to be there as her backup alarm in case she oversleeps.

She also needs me to verify that she has showered, brushed her teeth, brushed her hair and packed all of her items.

Teenagers need this as well. They mostly follow through with hygiene but they also sometimes forget simple things like putting their shirt on right side out or wearing a coat when the outside temperature is below freezing.

As the parent, you are also your child’s checklist. Ask, each morning, if they have everything they need. They will say yes even if their hands are empty and they aren’t wearing shoes.

However, your reminder will help them ensure they eventually have what they need.

Key Takeaways

When do children get themselves up and ready for school? Hopefully they will be able to do that, without any support, by the time they go to college.

Before then, it’s anyone’s guess. What is your experience with this? Tell us in the comments!

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Frequently Asked Questions

There is no typical age for a child to get themselves up and ready for school. Your child needs to have some room to manage themselves but they also need gentle guidance. Your job is to help them with time management and making sure they don’t leave the house without having brushed their teeth.

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