NORFOLK, Va (WAVY) — While some kids can’t wait to get back into school, others dread the day.

“One of the things we want to look at is what is normal worry or anxiety and it’s all going to fit on a spectrum,” said CHKD parenting expert Michelle Tryon.

Tryon said no matter how small their fears may seem to you, never minimize a little ones worries.

“Because then it makes them feel like they’re not normal,” she said, “or they shouldn’t be worried or they can’t talk to you, so whatever they say, you’re going to validate it.”

Whether it’s the threat of violence in schools, post pandemic challenges, bullies or plain insecurity, kids do have valid concerns.

Tryon’s advice is to validate their concerns by saying something like this, “I understand how you’re feeling. How can I help? I understand how you’re feeling. What can you do differently tomorrow?”

Sometimes getting your child to talk is tough.

Tryon said to try this:

“‘I noticed when you got off the bus, you had a big smile on your face, or, I noticed when you got off the bus you had a grumpy look on your face,'” she said, “so you’re noticing something and then just stop talking.”

Beginning your conversation with “I wonder,” she said. Wondering works as well.

“‘I wonder if some kids worry about such and such,’ if your child is worried about it,” Tryon said, “or, ‘I wonder if some kids are worried about the work they’re going to have in third grade?'”

Your next move, she said, should be to comfort them and then challenge them to move forward.

“We also can talk about strategies for making friends or being a good friend,” she said. “What does that look like?”

In general, establishing a routine can help children with focus and reduce stress. Set times for getting up and going to bed, doing homework and screen time. Make sure they know where to get help either at home or with a teacher or counselor at school.

Here are some red flags to look out for:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Disruptive or aggressive behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Using drugs or alcohol
  • Thoughts of self harm or suicide.

When you notice any red flags its important to reach out to your child’s pediatrician.