We are traveling with our 2-year-old daughter. We have talked to a lot of traveling families, done a fair amount of research and have had long discussions with several child psychologists (and psychoanalysts/psychotherapists etc) on this exact topic. I’m not a writer, otherwise, I could have written a book on this subject
There isn’t a silver bullet or a ‘right’ answer to your question.
It’s up to you and your family to discover that works for you guys.
Maintaining a meaningful and long-term friendship while traveling is just as challenging for kids as it is for their adults. For some it comes easy, for others, it remains a challenge.
It takes two to tango, so if both parties are willing to invest in maintaining the relationship the distance doesn’t matter, it does help to meet face-to-face every once in a while.
Question: After 10 years of traveling, how do you maintain long-term friendships yourself?
Kids have this magical ability to create friends instantly. They are also good in breaking up, and then 30 min later being best friends again. Depending on their (and your) character a Nomadic lifestyle might fit excellent, or you might need to consider a more permanent home base.
It’s excellent that you are already staying longer periods (3 months+) in one place, we personally prefer slow traveling with our family (as do most families).
There are a lot of different ways to travel, there are families that travel in groups (for example with a group of sailing boats). I read in your profile that you were circus performers, which sometimes also travel longer periods with the same group of people. This sure makes it easier to keep the same friends. Also returning to the same place several times helps in maintaining friendships. There are a lot of children of expats that struggle with their identity and calling a place ‘home’.
Question: What is home for you, and more importantly, what do you want ‘home’ to be for your children?
Another thing you might want to consider is stability. How do you provide a stable environment? For us having standard rituals, like a bedtime ritual helps a lot. The house, room, and bed might be different, but reading a bedtime story every night from the same books always comes after we brushed our teeth. Children need be loved and protected while having room to fail and explore. They also need to have structure and clarity to feel safe and secure.
Traveling and raising a family isn’t always easy. It can be quite demanding for everybody, not only for the parents.
That being said, we really love traveling with our family and have learned things we otherwise would have never learned. Not only about the world, other cultures and people, but also about ourselves. We are really grateful for al the wonderful people we met so far and hope we can continue our Nomadic lifestyle for a very long time.
I’d be more than happy to answer any other related questions you might have.