Check out our photo a day
Menu

5 Ways To Prepare For The New School Year

Fat Mum Slim /

Brought to you by The Department of Education and Training.

News alert guys, school is back. Routine has returned. I always get a bit anxious at the start of the school holidays because six weeks feels like an eternity, and the first thing that springs to mind is all the fights I’ll have to referee, the food I’ll have to make and all the “Muuuuuuuuuuuuum!” requests I’ll have to tend to. But then the holidays fly by, and here we are, school is back and I actually enjoyed the chilled out time we’ve spent together. It’s been nice. {Just quietly, I’m looking forward to more calm and routine, and the kids are happy to be back hanging with their friends}.

1. KNOW ABOUT THE NEW CHILD CARE PACKAGE

You may not have heard on the grapevine, but as of July child care fee assistance will be changing. I’m going to put my hand up and tell you that I have been clueless with this stuff in the past, and I usually ask my sister because she knows all the stuff about this BUT I have read up this year.  I feel quite brainy!

So how is it changing? Well, you probably know that right now we have the Child Care Rebate and Child Care Benefit. This will be replaced be the simpler single Child Care Subsidy. It means that under this new Package, child care is going to be more affordable for more families.

The first thing that will determine a family’s percentage of Child Care Subsidy will be their combined annual income, with more financial support available to lower income families.

Families earning $65,710^ or less will receive a subsidy of 85 per cent of the actual fee charged (up to 85 per cent of an hourly fee cap). For family incomes above $65,710^, the subsidy gradually decreases to 20 per cent when family income reaches $340,000^. For families with incomes of $350,000^ or more, the subsidy is zero per cent.

Secondly, to be eligible for this new subsidy, both parents {unless you’re a single parent} need to be doing an activity, which sounds more like aerobics and less like work but let me explain. There are a wide range of things that are considered an activity in order to receive the Child Care Subsidy {think paid work, studying, paid parental leave, looking for work, volunteering, training etc}. For our family, Hubby and I both work and Lulu is attending preschool so we will get a subsidy because we’ve both worked a bunch of hours. Plus sometimes Lacey will go to before school care or vacation care, so we will get a subsidy on those too.

There are exemptions though to the activity test – so if you’re a low income family {earning under $65,710^} you’ll be eligible for Child Care Subsidy hours {24 hours per fortnight} if you cannot meet the activity requirements. For families who do not meet the activity test, there will be also be an exemption to ensure their preschool aged child can attend a preschool program in a centre-based care service. The exemption will be for the period of the preschool program. Get more details on the Activity Test webpage.

Lastly, it also depends on the type of care you use. We’ve all known that dropping the kids off to Nanna doesn’t get us a rebate, but it is awesome. You can pop over and read more.

One of the biggest things you’ll notice is that low and middle-income families will no longer have an annual subsidy cap. There will be no stressing that you’ve maxed out your maximum rebates {in the past families were capped at receiving $7,613 back in rebates for a year}. Now the cap will be removed {if you earn $185,710^ or under}, and you can claim as much Child Care Subsidy as you need without worrying about the cap. If you’re a family earning more than $185,710^ and up to $350,000^, the annual subsidy cap has been increased from $7,613 a year to $10,000^ per child.

You can use the calculator to estimate what your family’s subsidy will be. It shouldn’t take you too long and your details are not stored so you can explore lots of options your family might be considering this year around work, training and studying.

^These figures will be increased by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) when the package begins in July 2018.

2. LABEL ALL THE THINGS

If this is your first time sending your little people off to school or childcare, let me tell you this: LABEL EVERYTHING. Even things you didn’t think would need labeling {underpants, shoes, socks}, they actually do. Laundry markers will be your new favourite thing!

3. SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE

This theme from last year is carrying through into the New Year, and it’s one I really love. Simplify everything. Last year I was trying to help Lacey find her passion by putting her into piano lessons and getting her a tutor as well. It was great, but I realised it was adding stress to her life too – so we’re taking a look at everything and simplifying where we can. Is there parts of your life that you could simplify too?

4. GET LEAK-PROOF LUNCHBOX AND DRINK BOTTLES

Having been a Nanny, and now a mum, I can tell you that I’ve packed thousands of school bags over the years… and I’ve also endured the dreaded leaking drink bottle… all through all the school things. It’s torture. We love these drink bottles from Nike, and I love the Yumbox lunchboxes. Ours are both over a year old and still going strong!

5. COOK & FREEZE ALL THE THINGS

You’ll thank yourself later by doing this now. Batch cook all the things to fill the lunchboxes later. I like to make muffins, sausage rolls, meatballs, banana bread, biscuits and anything else I can that the kids will enjoy for recess and lunch.

HOW DO YOU LIKE TO PREPARE FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR? DO YOU KNOW HOW THE NEW CHILD CARE PACKAGE WILL AFFECT YOUR FAMILY?

@Fatmumslim