SPOKANE, Wash. - Heading back to class can be fun, new friends, new teachers, new subjects. But it also comes with homework, tests, sports and other activities. Handling all those responsibilities can be stressful for students. So how can parents make sure their kids aren't getting overwhelmed?
Volleyball and football are already in season, now add school.
"Well, now this year, they're both in sports full time, hitting middle school," said Post Falls mom, Heidi Yount.
Katie Yount is heading into 6th grade.
"My favorite subject is science, so I'm kinda looking forward to that," said Katie.
Her brother, Robin, is in 8th grade.
"Everyone that I know is saying that 8th grade is like the best year," said Robin.
That's top dog for middle school but it also means new challenges.
"It gets busy in the morning and then sometimes stressful at night with homework and stuff," said Robin.
Heidi, says both her kids handle the busy schedule well.
"We tell them right now that school is their job," said Heidi.
But she also watches to make sure they don't get too stressed out. That, she says is as simple as keeping up everyday conversations.
"The question at dinner is always, 'What was the favorite part of your day, what was the worst part of your day?'" said Heidi.
Therapist Lynn Gfeller says asking those specific questions are key. He says consistent negative responses could be a warning sign.
"Look for behavioral changes, attitude changes, changes in their friends or other routines," said Gfeller.
Katie knows what to expect from 6th grade this year, she's headed back to the same school.
"A lot of people have said that our math teacher is a lot more strict than all the other ones," said Katie.
But for students that might be headed to a new school, Gfeller recommends going to open houses or visiting first.
"Knowing the bus routes, where the classrooms are, all that will reduce stress," said Gfeller.
Heidi says a solid schedule helps too.
"If you know the test is Friday what are you doing earlier in the week to prepare yourself and get good sleep," said Heidi.
And in the end, Heidi says for her, it's not all about volleyball, football or even school, it's about character.
"If somebody needs something, they're the first ones to jump up and help figure that out and I'm really proud of that in both of them," said Heidi.