As we gear up to leave this suburban life behind and take off in our RV (the house will be officially on the market on Thursday, so it shouldn’t be too long now), we’re all facing some tough realities. One of those? Saying goodbye to friends.

This post is part of a Talk Early ambassadorship.

Leyna and Kendall have both developed strong bonds of friendship with a few kids their ages. This has definitely been THE thing that Kendall, 9, is struggling with the most. He’s cool with homeschooling, living in an RV, traveling the country, and he’s even mostly ok with getting rid of a lot of stuff. He’s not ok with the idea of leaving his friends.

Leyna, 6, is super close with another girl on our street that I know she will be so sad when the time comes to say goodbye. I’m really bracing myself for it.

Having moved at their ages myself, though, it’s a heartbreak I know they can both overcome. It’s something that will make them cherish friendships more, I think. Plus, they’ll have the benefit of the internet and all the ways we can stay in touch. Leyna is really looking forward to Facetiming her friend from a volcano. Kendall is already perfecting his texting skills in conversations with his buddies (under our watchful eyes).

And I value these friendships for them. I really do. We plan to continue to nurture them. A lot of people ask what we will do about socializing them while we’re on the road. Truthfully, that’s at the bottom of the long list of stuff I’m concerned about.

The Talk Early team had a chance to interview psychologist Dr. Mary Alvord recently, and she explained that when it comes to friendships, quality matters more than quantity, especially in children.

Children don’t need a ton of friends. They just need one close friend.  “Research shows that even having one close friend serves as a protective factor against bullying,” says Dr. Alvord. And having strong friendship bonds can help them avoid making poor choices as they get older, like underage drinking.

So instead of stressing out about my children’s social circle while we travel for the next year, I’m going to work to help them stay in touch with the few friends they already have. And, of course, we’ll keep talking to them about the importance of alcohol responsibility and why they can’t have “just one sip” of my wine. It’s all connected, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Quality over quantity, and always talk early.

If you want to learn more about how to start conversations with your young children about alcohol responsibility, check out all the great resources at Responsibility.org. And if you’d like to read more about the Talk Early Team’s interview with Dr. Alvord, check out the blog post here.

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