Gone are the days of full-time RV life being just for the retired. In today’s world of remote and mobile work RVing full-time in your 20s, 30s, or 40s is more popular than ever. According to The Washington Post, there are now close to 1 million Americans living in an RV full-time.
While living the nomadic lifestyle solo or as a couple may sound like an exciting adventure, many people can’t imagine doing it as a family with children.
Well, despite the seeming impossibility of traveling full-time with kids, it is actually very much possible and can be a fantastic experience. It can be an amazing experience for the entire family.
If you are considering full-time RV living with kids, even in a Happier Camper, here are five ways to ensure everyone remains happy while living on the road.
1. Short Travel Days
One of the nicest things about RVing full-time is you don’t usually have to be anywhere. While a traveling job position may dictate where you need to be and when, for the most part, you will be in control of your schedule.
When traveling from one destination to another, make travel days as short as possible. Trave days are hard on everyone. You can get tired and the kids will get antsy.
Test to see how long it takes before your kids are ready to call it quits. This will help determine how long travel days should last.
For little kids, three to four hours seems to be the max. Remember you’ll be traveling at a bit of a slower speed with a big rig and potty breaks, so stay on the conservative side when figuring out how far you’ll make it in your desired time frame.
Keeping travel days short can mean reaching destinations gets tough. That’s where boondocking comes in. Use apps like Campendium. You can also join membership programs such as Harvest Host, or Boondockers Welcome to find a free place to call home for a night or two.
Just like in a “sticks and bricks” house, kids need routine. This is most important with younger kids as daily routines make them feel secure, teaches self-discipline, and establishes healthy habits.
The nomadic lifestyle is full of unknowns and new things, so creating at least some routines will keep everyone feeling grounded and happy.
Make sure naps are part of your little ones routine. Do sightseeing and excursions in the morning then head back to your tiny home on wheels for an afternoon nap. Bedtime routines are a great way to keep kids feeling safe as well as healthy.
If they know what to expect with bedtime, they may be less likely to fight it. Have kids take a warm bath or shower, brush teeth, and read stories before bed, just as they would in a typical house.
3. Plan as a Family
While routines are most valuable for younger kids, being part of the planning process is most valuable for older children. Route planning as a family can help kids learn to voice their opinions, listen to others, and how to compromise.
Have the kids research where they’d like to visit. Let them present their ideas and why they’d like to visit a destination. You can give everyone a voice and then decide where to go next.
Being part of the process doesn’t only teach valuable skills, it keeps the kids interested and excited about living the full-time RV lifestyle.
4. One-on-One Time
A benefit of full-time RVing as a family is the amount of quality time you’re able to spend together. Living on the road means close quarters, homeschooling, and 24/7 family time. If you have more than one child, make the time to give each the one-on-one time they need.
Spending time with each child individually gives them the opportunity to talk freely with you and vice versa. It also gives them much needed time away from their siblings.
Plan a special outing with each child on a weekly basis. Regardless if it’s a big adventure to a local attraction or just a walk through the woods, it’ll be much appreciated and good for both child and parent. Speaking of parents, don’t forget to take one-on-one time with your spouse and some time for yourself every once in a while.
There usually isn’t a need to pack all the sightseeing and adventures into a short amount of time. When you are actually living in your RV in a new destination, you should take the time to do all the exploring you’d like to do.
With that said, you should still have downtime or down days in between. Kids need days just to be kids. If each and every day is filled to the gills with activities and adventures, everyone will get burnt out.
Down days are also great for parents to take care of those real-life things that still exist while living this lifestyle such as laundry and house cleaning.
If you are considering full-timing with your family, do it. This lifestyle will expose you and your children to life-changing experiences and give you memories to last a lifetime. There will be challenges just as there are raising a family in a house, but the hardships are so worth it. Are you already RVing full-time with your family? Share your tips for full-timing with kids in the comments below!
Do you have anything you’d add? Leave a comment below!
What a great article! Thanks for the hints and tips!