The Practicing Parent: When to worry

Six-year-old Cooper Welch is excited, but nervous about heading back to school....excited about recess, nervous about going a full day. In kindergarten, he only went half a day and a full day of 1st grade worries him.

"My mom says I'm gonna have to go 7 hours, " he said. â??Thatâ??s a long time at school.â??

Cooperâ??s friend, 11-year-old Morgann Kennedy, is worried about sixth grade. "I'm kind of nervous, because when you walk in, you don't know anybody," she says.

Texas Tech Psychiatrist Dr. Jave Rush says Cooper and Morgannâ??s feelings are normal when it comes to back-to-school, "it's perfectly normal to be anxious."

But when should a parent be worried about their childâ??s fears?

Rush suggests parents watch for what he calls â??abnormalâ?? signs â?? a period of more than just a few days where the child is not eating well, sleeping well, and seems irritable.

If you notice these signs, Rush recommends talking with them or their school counselor.