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8 Ways to Create Stability for Your Kids During Full-Time Travel

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Last Updated on May 31, 2024 by Leslie Stroud

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I’m sitting in a play place in Bali, watching my boys run around like little monkeys. Their faces are pink and drenched in sweat. We’ve played together for a couple of hours already and they are off in boy imagination land. What is it about seeing your kids get totally worn out that is so satisfying? Perhaps it is knowing they will go to sleep easily?

Chris and Lucy are off on a day date to another island. They are going to see the biggest Buddhist temple in the world. I wasn’t interested in taking so much time to see it (they left at 4:30 am and will return about 1 am!) and getting a sitter for the kids. So the rest of us have ventured out on our own. Grabbing a Grab car (like Uber) with four little kids in a foreign country intimidates me. But, we did it and it turned out great.

One of the things that shouldn’t surprise me, but still does, is how similar life is everywhere we go. I didn’t know what to expect from Bali. I heard it was beautiful and I also heard it has some of the poorest communities in the world. I heard it was dirty and I heard the people were amazing.

I couldn’t anticipate what would be different about our life here. Honestly, it’s not much! Life here is about the same as everywhere else: families are working hard to provide a good life for themselves. People work (although with a different work ethic sometimes) to bring home to their families. Kids play, women laugh with each other and gossip, and mothers love their children. Travel is teaching me new cultures, but also how universal life is around the world.

I found a particular person commenting on one of our posts last night that struck a chord in my heart. She said that while learning and traveling are nice, it is meant for vacation and summer break. That we are being selfish in taking our children on this adventure around the world and kids need stability.

I commented back that I disagree, but we are all entitled to our opinion. I firmly believe this. I honor other opinions, even when they are different than mine. So often I can learn from those that disagree! What if I am wrong? I don’t mind when people disagree.

This kind of commenting back usually stops that person from saying anymore. However, she wrote back again, stating that we should learn to put the needs of the children above our own. This got my mama blood a’boilin! It shouldn’t- one person’s opinion can’t stand up to the strong conviction it took me to get to this place in my life. She isn’t the first to disagree while what we are doing.

The reason this bothered me and I continue to stew on it is that it struck a sensitive spot for me. We DO worry about the kids. We DO stress about what they don’t have because of this experience. In fact, it is probably the most challenging part for us: worrying about the kids.

So how much do we actually need stability? Would my kids be better if we were, once again, living in one place? If we only took a vacation once or twice a year?

I do think they are missing some of the things we would have in that other life. They are missing their friends. They are missing relationships. They aren’t taking piano or soccer or drama club. They aren’t doing ski team right now (sad). They aren’t going to birthday parties or fun activities with friends.

However, they also aren’t getting bullied at school. They aren’t exhausted and spend 8-10 hours away from me, Monday through Friday. They aren’t worried about what they wear to school or if the teacher is going to call on them or being embarrassed about how they look. We are all, blissfully, totally comfortable with each other. A few snarky words between siblings each day is usually the worst it gets. I could go on and on. It’s something I am thinking about constantly. Really, it needs to be a future post, or maybe a few.

In the meantime, I want to talk about some of the ways we build stability into our travel life. Bottom line: kids love a routine. I also love a routine and try to make them all the time anyway. So here at some ways, we have found to make life a little more stable in a completely unstable situation:

  1. We plan out our week, roughly, and discuss it with the kids on Sunday night. This is usually at dinner or bedtime. We discuss what days (or nights) daddy is working, when we will do school and when we will play. I also let the know what I’m thinking for some of our play, but I try to leave it as flexible as possible. I’m a classic over-planner.
  2. We do homeschool three days a week. This does a lot to build our schedule. We aren’t just looking for something to do the next day. We homeschool while Chris works (or sleeps after work here in Bali) and this gives us built in downtime. While the kids can get it done much faster, it usually take up most of the day. This forces us to have a quiet day and I’m usually catching up on my own work, doing laundry, meal prepping, etc.
  3. We do dates with our older kids once per month. Our cut-off age for dates is 4, which is still pretty going to have any meaningful conversation, but old enough to remember the time spent. We usually just go to dinner and some activity, like a movie or park to play. Sometimes we plan really fun things, like our kids dates in Kauai! You can check out the video here. This gives the kids something to be excited about every month. It’s also a nice break for us! It’s fun having just one child for a few hours.
  4. Bedtime is crucial. This is a part of the day we can always make the same. We try to read scriptures as a family, read our family book (right now James and the Giant Peach), get ready for bed and sit in their rooms until they fall asleep. Sometimes we read other things out loud as they fall asleep to the sound of our voice. We love the thought that we can end each day on a positive note and with them feeling comfortable.
  5. Friday movie night. This ones gets shifted around a lot and we don’t hit every week. However, if we are home on a Friday night, we love to pull something up on the Apple TV (one of favorite items we pack along) and sit down together for a movie. We pretty much never watch TV, so it’s a major change of pace for us.
  6. Saturday morning cartoons. Since the kids don’t get any TV during the week (barring some exceptions for illness or something else), we left them totally binge on Saturday morning. This gives Chris and I a chance to sleep in as well: bonus! Or we can be alone in our room and catch up for a while when we aren’t dog tired at the end of a day. Lucy is awesome at pouring everyone some cereal and getting a show on. They LOVE it and so do we.
  7. Chores. How boring, right? But it adds traction to an unstable life. When the kids know they have to clean their rooms, do the laundry, brush their teeth, help me cook and shop, sweep after dinner and do the dishes, things feel pretty normal. Our life is pretty normal many days- not much different that if we were homeschooling in our own home in one place. The fun adventure and all-day outings are the exception.
  8. Traditions. This is a tough one because I want to do all my same traditions, but logistically can’t. I want to do my holiday dinners and neighbor gifts and decorating cookies. However, we are finding new traditions and these are making it feel like home, no matter where we are. For example, we are doing postcards each month (want one?? Let me know on instagram!) to our family and friends and new people we haven’t met. It’s fun for the kids to think of that little piece of paper going out into the world.

What do you do to bring stability into your life? How important do you think it is?


  1. Hi,

    We as a family have just started traveling full-time because we are able to work remotely. @travelling_with3

    One thing we have been struggling is creating stability school wise with our 6 year old. She like to go to school and make friends. She always mentions her friends from school from when she was 2 years old.

    We are thinking of finding a way we can have her in school back at home in the summer to give her the stability she is looking for and the education we may lack in giving her.

    How do you deal with this and do you find any of your children longing for this kind of stability?

    • Leslie Stroud

      Hey there! I totally understand. Our children did the same! One of the main reasons we settled in Portugal was to allow our kids to go to school because they missed the interaction with other kids. Many families I’ve talked to stay on locations for 3-6 months and put their kids in school. This is one way to overcome this. Or spending some time at “home” for some school time. It’s definitely a challenge.

  2. Pingback: 7 Ways Full-Time Family Travel Will Ruin Your Life - 7 Wayfinders

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