My daughter, we'll call Beth, had a close friend, we'll call Alice, who was in the same daycare/preschool from ages 6 months through just before 5 years old. Alice lives in the next town over, so once they both finished preschool, they went to different schools in different districts for kindergarten.
Even though it's been two years, Beth still considers Alice her best friend. Beth has made new friends at her school but won't consider anyone else for the position of "best friend" (not that one and only one person has to be assigned that honorific).
Beth has seen Alice a few times per year since then: at Beth's birthday party, at Alice's birthday party (an invitation to which always seems to appear a day or two after Beth's party), and maybe a play date or two. Even when they were in the same school, Alice's parents were never very responsive about setting up playdates.
How can I help my daughter move on from this relationship? Should I? Specifically, should we continue to set up the few visits per year we've managed? Or should we stop setting them up - Out of sight, out of mind?
I've found some advice on the internet about helping a child after their friend moved away. But in this case, Alice didn't move away, she just went to a different school. So it seems to me that the "intermittent feedback" of seeing Alice a few times a year is just reinforcing the relationship Beth may have forgotten about or moved on from otherwise. As far as I know Alice has moved on, but I don't have any confirmation or denial of that from Alice's parents.