PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For some kids, the return to the classroom can be stressful. But parents can help their student handle classroom anxiety.

Experts say they believe it will be easier for parents to tell if their child is falling behind in school this year since they will fully be in-person. They say you will see it in their confidence more than in test scores.

Betsy Stone is the center director for Huntington Learning Center in Bethany and says anxiety looks different for younger kids versus older students.

Stone says for older kids, if they don’t explicitly say they’re feeling nervous or anxious, it might look like them “forgetting” to do work for a specific subject, dragging their feet or losing focus. Younger kids, however, can’t always verbally communicate what they’re feeling.

“Usually, in those elementary years, they can’t communicate how they’re feeling about it,” said Stone. “They don’t know if they’re feeling bad or nervous, but something’s definitely [off] like tummy ache. So, if they ended up going into the office a couple of times during a certain time period of the day, your child’s teacher can let you know those types of things.”

Stone says no matter the age, parents will start to notice a change in their child’s confidence when they start to feel nervous or anxious for school.

Educators say when a student is confident, they can overcome obstacles. But if they lack that self esteem, their willingness to problem solve and try new things will wane.

“School is kind of a moving train,” said Stone. “So, if we’re already starting to move with it, it makes it a lot easier to catch up. It also means that the student hasn’t had the years of feeling self conscious about the topics that they’re working on. And so if we can kind of work on that skill as quickly as possible as consistently as possible to bring them up that makes a big difference.”

Consistency is vital, notes Stone. Spending a few minutes every day helping a child where they need extra push will benefit them greater than marathon study sessions in a single day.

For parents feeling defeated or anxious about their child going back to school, Stone says take the reintroduction one step at a time and communicate with the child’s teacher early on when you start to notice your child might be running in to challenges.

Huntington Learning Center still has spots open for students this fall, but they will fill up fast. Resources and details on how to support your child can be found on their website here.