When you think of full-time RVing, you might have a picture in your mind of a couple of retirees living year-round at a campground. That is the case sometimes, but many parents these days opt to live and travel full time in their RV with their children! It can be rewarding for all members of the family, but it does not come without intense preparation and planning! Here are some great things to keep in mind when setting out!
Perhaps the hardest thing of all when preparing to start full-time RV living (kids or no kids) is downsizing from your house to a much smaller RV, assuming you are going to be selling your house. It can be a hard decision to know what to keep and what to get rid of or sell, or put into storage if you’re willing to pay for it. This can be an especially daunting task with kids, as they may not be entirely willing to part with certain items. Downsizing can be a difficult endeavor, but keep in mind how much room you have available in your RV, where you plan on traveling to, and how often you plan on moving around. This is especially useful in trying to determine what kind/how much clothing you should bring for your children. If you plan to move around to different climates, or stay through season changes, it might be beneficial to bring a couple different season’s worth of clothing, if you have the space for it.
However, if space is an issue, and if you think your kids will outgrow their wardrobe quickly (as is the case with most kids), it might be easier to think short term for clothing choices. Almost any town you encounter will have some sort of thrift or consignment store, allowing you to trade in and purchase bigger sizes and and pieces for new seasons at an affordable cost! Also, there’s a good chance that you will come across another full-time family, and could be able to swap items with them! As far as toys go, you’ll have to carefully consider what to take along, because kids will need toys to stay entertained! It’s a good rule of thumb to remember that quality is better than quantity when choosing what to bring along. Things such as building blocks, play sets, small dollhouses, etc. are items that your kids will be interested in playing with multiple times. Small trinkets or too many stuffed animals will be easily forgotten and will make your RV feel cluttered! If you have the space, you could always stow away some toys, and bring them out when the kids grow tired of their current ones. They’ll think of them as new toys, but you've had them all along, saving you money by not having to purchase brand new playthings when they get bored of their old toys!
As it can be in a house, it is even more important to stay organized and clean while full-time RVing with children! The more family members you have in an RV, the greater the likelihood for clutter will be, so it’s imperative to set up some precautions against the mess. It is very important to still implement chores into a child’s routine while RV living. It will maintain discipline and keep your RV from getting too messy. Also, it is good to periodically go through and determine if there is anything you can get rid of to keep everything neat and organized!
Homeschooling and Roadschooling
Unless you have decided to live full time in one particular place and claim residency, you will have to dedicate yourself to educating your child while on the road. There are a couple different options that are great for schooling, both with great advantages!
Homeschooling is a good option for your child’s education! It allows you to spend time with your children and you can do lessons when you have time! However, you must register your kids in your state of domicile, unless you plan on staying in one particular state for more than three months. Some states, such as Texas, don’t have strict requirements, but others may require things such as supervised testing and rigorous record keeping, which can be hard while being constantly on the move!
Roadschooling is a variation of homeschooling, but allows for a lot more flexibility for your children’s education. Instead of rigid lesson plans, this approach utilizes your current surroundings to supplement the learning experience. This is perfect for families that travel to many different climates and terrains, national parks, and natural wonders! Anything can be turned into a lesson! Like with homeschooling, you must register your children in your home state and must meet that state’s education requirements.
Safety and Boundaries
Safety can be an issue in full-time RVing with children, especially if they are very young. If necessary, be sure to go through and baby-proof your RV to ensure your little ones won’t have any accidents. You’ll also want to set some ground rules for safety, both inside and outside of your RV. Children should be educated on camping safety, as well as safety while traveling.
There is no denying that there can be drama while living in a house, so it will only intensify when being in the more confined space of an RV. Setting boundaries within your RV can prevent fights and will encourage your children to respect everyone’s space and property. Curfews can also be good for older kids when staying in campgrounds, to ensure their safety and allow them a bit of freedom to explore while staying close to your site. All in all, traveling full-time with your entire family can be incredibly rewarding! Once you plan and get your RV completely ready for full-time living, the possibilities for making wonderful memories are endless! If you are interested in full-time RVing with children, there are several online communities that you can check out for more information and support! Happy travels!