We start the bedtime routine at 6:00 pm. It's into the tub or shower. This can take a bit of negotiation and a 5 minute warning as she's usually in the middle of something that HAS to be finished. Depending on how long it takes her to get into the tub or shower depends on how long she has. I have her out by 6:30. Then it's pajamas, hair brushing, teeth brushing, potty, and stories. My goal is lights out and out of the room by 7:00 pm. There have been a few nights this has slid, but not by much. There have also been a few mornings I've had to wake her up, but for the most part she's up on her own.
We also have her pick out her outfit for the next day before she goes to bed. This part is key. I can't tell you how many times we've been running late because she has decided on a last minute wardrobe change.
The few mornings I've had to wake her up have not been *too* bad. She has to rush a little bit more to get ready and agrees it's much better when she wakes up on her own and can get ready at her own pace. The bed time routine those nights is MUCH easier and a few times she's been in bed/lights out by 6:30 pm.
N thought I was nuts to start the routine so friggin' early, but even he admits it's been working. Summer school was in the mornings and we were running late most days. Molly hated being rushed and it actually led to some great discussions and agreements about our morning ritual once Kindergarten started up. Her school is roughly 11 miles from our house and we have to be on the road by 8:00 am. It's about a 20 minute drive and then time to park and walk to the classroom door. I have been carpooling quite a bit and it always takes some prodding to get both kids to the classroom door on time.
The best part about all this is Molly knows when she's tired or has not gotten enough sleep and will adjust her bedtime accordingly. We are a little more relaxed on the weekends, but not by much. I don't want to get her too off track in two days and then have a huge battle Monday mornings. Molly gets that she is grumpy when she's tired and loves/needs her sleep. That's a huge help. I was bracing myself for a huge culture shock once Kindergarten started, but it really has not been that bad. I just need to get better about going to bed earlier myself.