DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO13)– While the back-to-school season brings joy and excitement, it’s also normal for students to feel anxious, according to experts.

Kimberly Roberts is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at Unity Point Health Blank Psychiatric Clinic. According to Roberts, on average, anywhere from 6% to 20% of children experience anxiety, which is a feeling of panic or worry that may be difficult to regulate.

Parents can recognize whether their child is experiencing heightened anxiety by monitoring their feelings or behaviors. Symptoms include irritability and avoidance, as well as breathing quickly or crying and being upset. Roberts also says that there are steps parents can take to help remedy anxious feelings.

“I think it’s important to just discuss anxiety in general when it’s coming up towards back-to-school time,” said Roberts.

Roberts says that the best way parents can help their students lower their anxiety is by setting a routine, which can be done by regulating their sleep schedules. Additionally, parents can have conversations with their students about the excitement of heading back to school, which Roberts says will help reframe the conversation in a positive way.

However, if symptoms of anxiety last longer than around two weeks, Roberts says it’s important for parents to let the school know so teachers are aware that the transition may be difficult for the student, and to contact the child’s primary care doctor.