Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Brandon Yew and Dr Eki Wari on July 31, 2022

Labor Day Weekend: Healthy Tips Before Sending Your Kids Back to School

These tips can help make it less painful for your child to go back to school the day after a fun Labor Day weekend. Here's how to make the transition as easy as possible while also setting them up for a healthy school year.

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For many families in America, Labor Day weekend is the last chance to enjoy summer. In fact, the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend marks the first day of school for many kids.

Going back to school after summer vacation is hard. It’s even harder following a fun-filled Labor Day weekend.

Read on to learn tips for making this transition as easy as possible so you can help your child start the new school year healthy and focused.

What Is Labor Day Weekend?

Many families take one last trip to the beach over Labor Day weekend before summer ends.

Labor Day weekend is a federal holiday in the United States. It takes place on the first Monday in September to recognize and honor the American labor movement and the contributions of laborers to the development of the United States.

Most kids and parents have this Monday off from school and work, which allows for a three-day fun-filled weekend. Similar to Memorial Day, many families travel, go camping, spend time on the water, attend parades and social gatherings, and enjoy one final day of summer freedom before settling down for the upcoming cold weather and school year.

However, for many kids, the following Tuesday marks the first day of a new school year. Parents often have a hard time transitioning their kids from summer freedom to a structured back-to-school schedule. As tempting as it is to let them enjoy Labor Day weekend, it’s just as important to get them thinking about school again.

Setting Bedtime After Labor Day Weekend

Setting a bedtime routine can help your child adapt to the new school year after a fun Labor Day weekend.

Sleep is an essential part of a child’s growth and development. Research shows that kids who get proper amounts of rest do better in school. Lack of sleep in children is associated with:

  • Decreased attention
  • Impaired memory
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Reduced creativity
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Poor decision-making abilities
  • Aggression and irritability
  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression and anxiety

Establishing a bedtime routine can help kids regulate their internal body clock. This helps your child know when it’s time to fall asleep and when to wake up each day.

We asked Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Physician Brandon Yew to elaborate. He stated, “According to the TCM meridian biological clock, the best time to sleep is from 11 pm to 1 am. This two-hour block of time corresponds to the Gallbladder, which is closely related to the Liver.”

The Gallbladder in TCM is an important aid to the Liver in maintaining optimal Qi and Blood circulation. It also regulates our emotional state.

“If children stay up too late, they miss the conducive timing for the optimal recuperation of the Gallbladder, resulting in reduced functioning of the gallbladder and eventually of the Liver,” Physician Yew continued.

If this bad habit continues, the Gallbladder and Liver will malfunction, resulting in poor Qi and Blood circulation and lowered immunity, rendering the body susceptible to cold and flu, and other common health issues like indigestion and irritable bowels.

The emotional state will also be adversely affected, causing the child to lose focus during class and achieve poor academic grades. It can also affect the child’s social interaction with schoolmates and teachers, eventually hurting the child’s own self-esteem. 

“Thus, it is imperative to set a bedtime routine where the child not only has enough hours of sleep but also be disciplined to sleep by 11 pm to achieve quality well-rested sleep,” Physician Yew concluded.

Supporting Your Child’s Immune Health Using TCM After Labor Day Weekend

In addition to establishing a set bedtime, parents should consider their kid’s immunity after Labor Day weekend to help prevent back-to-school colds. We asked Physician Yew for more TCM tips.

“TCM can help in the prevention of colds, stomach flu, and hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) by addressing the common imbalances. This includes Wind, Cold, Fire, Dampness, and Deficiencies in Qi and Yin of the Spleen and Lungs. These conditions make one susceptible to getting sick,” he stated.

Treatment modalities that are often used by TCM practitioners include herbal medication, acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, guasha (scraping), and tuina (Chinese manual therapy). These are formulated carefully by the TCM physician to address specifically the unique body constitution of every individual patient. Hence, it’s best to always first consult a TCM physician for proper assessment. 

Herbal remedies

Below listed are some herbal formulas that can help with immunity: 

  • Yu Ping Feng San: Strengthens Qi to boost Spleen and Lung functions, improving digestion and respiratory functions 
  • Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi: Strengthens Spleen Qi and dispels Dampness, improving digestive function  
  • Liu Wei Tang: Boosts Qi and Yin of the Spleen and Lungs, and clears Fire within the Lungs, improving respiratory functions 

Acupressure

Acupressure is an easy self-help remedy you can do by placing fingers or a blunt object like a massage stick at certain acupoints. Then apply an appropriate amount of pressure to elicit a tolerable sensation of soreness or tenderness.

At the same time, massage in both clockwise and anticlockwise circular motion 20 times each. Repeat for at least 3 minutes per acupoint.

The acupoints that might help are: 

  • Dan Zhong (RN 17): Dispels Wind, Cold, Fire, and Dampness; strengthens Lung Qi
  • Zhong Wan (RN 12): Dispels Wind, Cold, Fire, and Dampness; strengthens the Spleen and Stomach
  • Yu Ji (LU 10): Dispels Wind, Cold, and Fire; strengthens Lung Qi and Yin
  • He Gu (LI 4): Dispels Wind, Cold, Fire, and Dampness from the Lungs
  • Nei Guan (PC 6): Dispels Fire and Dampness from the Stomach and Spleen
  • Yin Ling Quan (SP 9): Dispels Dampness from the Spleen
  • Zu San Li (ST 36): Dispels Dampness; strengthens Spleen Qi
  • San Yin Jiao (SP 6): Dispels Fire and Dampness, strengthens the Spleen, and regenerates Yin
  • Tai Chong (LR 3): Dispels Fire and Dampness; improves overall Qi circulation

Tips For Getting Kids Ready For School After Labor Day Weekend

According to Physician Yew, here are some tips to help prepare your child for the upcoming school year:

  • Help them develop healthy eating habits, adopt a balanced and nutritious diet, and cut down on cold, raw, salty, oily, fried, fatty, spicy, sugary, and processed foods 
  • Encourage them to exercise regularly, especially in outdoor settings where there is sunlight and good air ventilation 
  • Clean air-conditioning filters regularly as unclean filters may be detrimental to kid’s developing Lungs and respiratory system; ensure good ventilation throughout the house 
  • Ensure sufficient hydration with warm water throughout the day; cut down or avoid cold and sweetened beverages 
  • Encourage good emotional management by practicing mindfulness or awareness 
  • Have them get regular, sufficient, and quality sleep  
  • Moderate screen time to protect their eyesight and reduce screen addiction 

You can also incorporate some TCM herbs into your child’s diet as they prepare to go back to school. Here are some that can help support a child’s growing mind and body:

  • Liu Wei Di Huang Wan: Nourishes the Liver and Kidneys; promotes the development of the sinews, bones, and brain 
  • Chinese Yam: Nourishes and strengthens the Stomach, Lungs, and Kidneys 
  • American Ginseng: Strengthens Lung and Spleen Qi, nourishes the Lungs, and clears Heat 
  • Dendrobium: Clears Heat; nourishes the Lungs, Heart, Spleen, and Kidneys; and improves eyesight 
  • Wolfberry: Nourishes the Liver and Kidneys; promotes the development of the sinews, bones, and brain 
  • Cordyceps: Strengthens the Lungs and Kidneys 

Tips For Settling Down Kids After Labor Day Weekend

If your child has a hard time calming down after all of the Labor Day weekend activities, then consider using TCM to help get them settled.

Below listed are some TCM herbal formulas to help calm unsettled children:  

  • Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San: Clears Liver Fire, soothes Liver Qi and Blood flow to calm nerves, and strengthens Spleen to improve digestion 
  • Long Dan Xie Gan Tang: Clears Liver Fire, nourishes the Liver to calm the mind and nerves 
  • Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang: Dispels Liver Wind and Fire, and nourishes the Liver to calm the mind and nerves 
  • Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang: Dispels Liver Wind and Fire, and Phlegm; nourishes the Liver to calm the mind and nerves 
  • Shi Wei Wen Dan Tang: Replenishes and strengthens Spleen Qi to resolve Phlegm; nourishes the Liver to calm the mind and nerves 
  • Da Ding Feng Zhu: Dispels Liver Wind and Fire, and nourishes the Liver to calm the mind and nerves 
  • Shen Jie San: Dispels Liver Wind, Fire, and Phlegm to calm the mind and nerves 

The acupoints that might help are: 

  • Bai Hui (DU 20): Relieves tension in the scalp to calm the mind
  • Feng Chi (GB 20): Relieves neck tension to calm the mind
  • He Gu (LI 4): Improves Qi and Blood flow to calm the nerves
  • Shen Men (HT 7): Strengthens the Heart and calms the mind
  • Dan Zhong (RN 17): Relieves thoracic tension to soothe breathing and calm the nerves
  • Zhong Wan (RN 12): Relieves abdominal tension to improve digestion and calm the nerves
  • Zu San Li (ST 36): Strengthens the Spleen and dispels Dampness to improve Qi flow to calm the nerves
  • San Yin Jiao (SP 6): Nourishes the Spleen, Liver, and Kidneys to calm the mind and nerves
  • Tai Chong (LR 3): Clears Liver Fire and soothes Liver Qi and Blood flow to calm the mind and nerves

Seek Help From Professionals

You don’t necessarily have to give up a fun Labor Day weekend, but being mindful of the upcoming school year can help prepare your child.

Please always bear in mind that the herbal formulas provided above are meant for varying body constitutions with different underlying imbalances.

As such, it is strongly advised to not purchase any of them to self-medicate without first consulting a certified TCM professional, who will assess your child’s unique body constitution and current medical state and advise accordingly. 

Also, take note that the effect of acupressure is quite limited. It is meant to supplement acupuncture, which provides a much stronger and more comprehensive therapeutic efficacy in tackling the actual root imbalance(s).

Thus, it is strongly recommended to seek professional help from a certified TCM practitioner who can perform acupuncture safely and effectively.

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