Mum of five Lea Salvestro shares her advice on back-to-school time

Going back to school can be a harrowing time for parents, trying their best to make sure kids are all prepared for the upcoming term.

Lea Salvestro from Warrawidgee is as experienced as they come, and with five children shares her tips and tricks to prepare for the term.

Her number one tip: Be as organised as you can, as soon as you can.

“Make sure you have everything ready for that first week. The younger kids will bring home books that need to be covered, and if you have everything at home you don’t risk everything being sold out,” Mrs Salvestro says.

She says food and uniforms are also a mountain of a task, but by looking out for sales during the year you can set yourself up.

“There are quite a few sales on throughout the year, so I make sure I stock up, especially with uniforms when there’s 20% off. I always know their size so I get that or a bit bigger so they can grow into them.”

If you have more than one child, remember to keep a hold of things for hand-me-downs.

“For lunches, I bake a lot, individually wrap and freeze them, as well as pre-making lunches. Having such a large busy household, its much easier to do things in advance.”

Banana choc-chip muffins are the favorite in her household.

“You can pull them out of the freezer in the morning, and by the time lunch comes they have defrosted in the lunch-box, all ready to go.”

For those mums out there who are doing this for the first time, it can also pull on the heart strings.

“My last one start kindergarten last year, so after 16 years of being at home with children, I was a bit lost for a while,”

“It’s sad to let go but it’s exciting to see them blossom.”

Mrs Salvestro also takes advantage of the $100 rebate available from the government, available from January 31 here.

“With five kids all doing one or more sport, the $100 per child won’t go very far, but it is very much appreciated.”

And for the lucky last tip: “Go to your school and have a good rapport with the teacher, it’s good to know where your kids are, and if they are happy then you are happy.”

With the new term around the corner, it is also good to go in with a plan on how to make sure your children stay healthy.

With more than 22 per cent of school aged children reporting to be above a healthy weight in NSW the Heart Foundation is encouraging parents to prioritise health and physical activity when school begins for 2018.

Kerry Doyle, Heart Foundation NSW’s Chief Executive, says childhood is a critical window to shape healthy behaviours.

“Physical activity and healthy eating from an early age is important not only for heart health but for growing bodies as well. These early influential years when kids are at school can have a real impact on their immediate and long-term health.”

“Small changes can make a big difference, so I encourage parents to try out our six tips to improve their child’s health this year,” added Ms Doyle.


Have a back-up breakfast plan

Create a back-up healthy breakfast for when the morning isn’t going to plan of fast, inexpensive options such as fresh fruit; low fat unflavoured yoghurt; a handful of plain, unsalted nuts and/or seeds.

Get the $100 Active Kids rebate for each child

From 31 January 2018 the NSW Government will provide a $100 voucher to parents or guardians for registration and participation costs for children’s sport and fitness activities. Find out more here.

Swap butter for margarine, avocado or hummus on sandwiches

Butter is around 50 per cent saturated fat – which is the unhealthy fat that raises our cholesterol levels and kids are currently eating more saturated fat than they should. Margarine, avocado or hummus all contain healthier fats.

Make it easier for kids to eat fruit at school

Rather than packing whole fruit in the lunchbox, try cutting it up – rubbing lemon juice on cut fruit stops it going brown so it still looks good when your kids go to eat it.

Try something new for the school drop-off

Walking, cycling, scooting or public transport to and from school can greatly increase the amount of physical activity children achieve across the day. If home is a large distance from school, part of the way is okay too.

Make drinking water fun

Try new ways to encourage kids to drink water by using fun water bottles that they’ll want to refill during the day.