The babysitter doesn't put the kids to bed on time.
What to do: Discuss the problem right away
When you walk in the door at 10 p.m. and find your preschooler is wide awake and playing with his toys, you know what's in store for tomorrow: a super-cranky kid. While your spouse puts him to sleep, explain to your sitter that ignoring your child's sleep schedule can throw him off for several days. Review his bedtime rituals, including the number of books to read and where to find his favorite pj's, stuffed animals, and lullaby CDs. Also prepare your sitter so she's ready to deal with your child's typical delay tactics. "Now that my daughter is 5, I make sure she's sitting with me when we go over the rules," says Alicia Rockmore, a mom in Los Angeles. "That way she can't try to convince the sitter that I said she could stay up later."