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Author bio: Author of Tales From the Black Tank, Liz Wilcox isn’t afraid to dig deep for a story (or self-publish.) Armed with an RV obsession and a dream, she’s blazing the trail for a new kind of RV site she calls The Virtual Campground. Find out more about Liz and her fierce dedication to RVer entertainment over at www.lizwilcox.com/about.
Some people say RVing with kids is absolutely crazy. And while I’ve always been open to living in a small space (because I’m a slob who hates cleaning), I am guilty of this line of thinking.
When my husband first jokingly mentioned moving into a camper, the first thing that came to my mind was “I CANNOT be that close to my child 24/7. I just can’t and I won’t. I need my own space. You can’t make me.” Fortunately, the slob in me took over the next day with thoughts like “Imagine all the cleaning you WOULDN’T have to do.”
As I sit here in my bed, looking out at the campground pond, you can guess what part of my personality won out in the end.
So what are the worst things about RVing with kids?
And is it worth it to do it anyway?
Here’s the top complaints and why you should ignore them.
When you’re RVing with kids there is no such thing as personal space.
Now, any parent feels like they don’t have personal space. I mean, can I please just go to the bathroom alone for like, once in my life?
And like me, this is probably the biggest fear of RV dreamers and maybe the biggest complaint among people RVing with kids. But it’s no reason to head back to Suburbia, my friends.
Remember, RVing is all about getting back in touch with nature. Let your kids be outside, breathe the fresh air and LEAVE YOU ALONE. And if that fails? Buy a giant 5th wheel with separate bedrooms.
RVing with kids makes you worry they might never make lifelong friends.
Okay, so we can all relate to the nostalgia that comes rushing into our minds and hearts when we think about our first best friend or that time we got invited to the skating rink for Stephanie’s best birthday party ever back in 7th grade. Oh, it hurts so good thinking back on that, don’t it?
And how can anyone possibly deprive their child from experiences like that? Kids need to be awkward meeting friends in the lunchroom, have competitions on the playground during recess, and have weekend sleepovers with the neighborhood kids. They need it, right? Right?! I can’t give that up!
But you can.
RVing with kids might take them away from the neighborhood and its accompanying public school, but in this current academic and social climate, is that really a bad thing? Chances are if you’re RVing or thinking about RVing with your littles you 100% want something different for them and the family as a unit. You want your kids to create genuine connections.
And that’s completely possible on the road.
Open yourself up to other families you meet on the road. Join Facebook groups and never fail to follow up on an invitation to meet up with others RVing with kids out there on the road. Let your kids FaceTime with kids they’ve met on the road, go home semi-often so they can reconnect with old friends, and never underestimate the power within your own children to make friends.
Finding appropriate RV parks is so much harder when you’re RVing with kids.
Alright, this complaint is valid. RV parks and campground are seriously behind the times when it comes to um, you know, updating their websites to be reflective of what actually is vs. what might have been when they first opened their doors.
And while this is simply annoying for the average RVer, it can be an absolute nightmare for those RVing with kids. I mean, your weird old neighbors are always on your back about your crazy RV life anyway, you don’t want them to catch wind you had to spend the night in a camp that looks like it might have a meth problem, amirite?
Seriously though, your kids need to be safe and in a welcoming environment. Many camps are retired communities only while others will let you in but their other customers are less than happy about it. It sucks all the planning that goes into this, but keep in mind, you’re living the way you want!
It’s not going to be perfect, but it’s perfect for you.
Forget about date nights when you’re RVing with kids.
Yeah, this one… it’s pretty much true. Unless you’re RVing with teenagers, you and the kids are stuck like glue.
Make sure to get home every once in a while to take advantage of familiarity. Visit grandparents. Make friends on the road and take up caravanning with them. Get creative. No babysitter isn’t a reason to quit on your dream.
“Late night activities” require some serious planning when RVing with kids.
Sex. I’m talking about sex. Get your gasps out now and let’s be serious.
If you’re thinking about RVing as a family, you more than likely love and like your spouse. (If this is not the case, seriously reconsider, okay?) And when two people love each other very much…
Yes, sex in the RV can be tricky. Especially if your kid is a little older and a light sleeper. Or you picked an under 30 foot trailer because you just had to visit all those national parks. (It’s okay to regret some parts of this life. I get it, friend.)
This is another one of those complaints you have to come at with creativity. Buy a big rig. Get stabilizers for it. Use your truck. Take advantage of nap time. You get the idea…I hope.
You’ll miss your community and your sense of “roots” when RVing with kids.
If you’re like me, you love your community. You have friends, maybe a “home church” that you just adore, and your roots are very important to you. It’s a legitimate concern.
With these type of people, just go home.
Oh no, not like that.
Like, go visit! Less Junk More Journey is a great example of this type of traveling. They have a very close family back home and travel home for extended stays every 2-3 months. There are no rules for full-timing. Do what feels right to you.
Teenagers and threenagers. That’s all we need to say.
Yeah, RVing with kids means, well, RVing with kids. Problems you have with your kids beforehand are going to only be amplifies at times in such a small space. Like rats in a cage. (Too much?)
For me, having a toddler in this space is absolutely terrible when she is whiny and defiant. It seems like the slides are closing in! (RV humor) And I can’t imagine teenage angst in 200 square feet!
With this complaint, you just have to remember your why, your purpose for going full-time and all the reasons you wanted to start RVing with kids in the first place.
Homeschooling with limited internet can be a serious struggle.
Homeschooling is hard. Add being a nomadic family with unreliable internet and limited space for supplies and you’ve got a recipe for STRAIGHT DISASTER, y’all.
Fortunately, being a full-time family puts you in lots of different situations with plenty of naturally-occurring learning opportunities. Use what you’ve got and don’t stress it. Your kid is a human being and another lucky thing, human beings are naturally curious learning machines!
Sleeping ain’t what it used to be when you’re RVing with kids.
Oh my gosh, this is so me. I am such a light sleeper and the RV, well, it’s not a house. I can hear my kid coughing at night. Just last night, the pilot light for the water heater woke me up trying to click itself on.
What in the actual heck?
If you spend your days working hard and playing hard, RVing with kids will make you pretty tired by the end of the night and not every night should be terrible.
You’ll forget to take time to be alone.
You want your family to be close. It’s really one of the biggest reasons you want to (or started) RVing with your kids in the first place. And like we talked about at the beginning of this article, there really is no such thing as personal space.
Which means you forget to take time to just yourself. And who can blame you?
You’re not retired. You or your spouse is working a lot to keep this dream alive. Your kids are always with your because you don’t have a babysitter. The RV park said the kids can’t go to the pool alone.
Being alone is a laugh.
Except you need it. Avoid burnout and find time to be alone. Get creative (seems to be a theme here) and you’ll find a way from time to time when you need it.
Keeping kids happy during bad weather is so hard.
So the whole point of RVing and living in a small space is to get outside, right?
But what happens when it’s raining for 3 days straight and no way you’re packing up and leaving in this weather, especially since you already paid for the 2-week rate in full? Or it’s 100 degrees outside with a humid fog so thick poor Ayden’s glasses won’t stop fogging up and his asthma is starting to act up?! WHAT THEN?!
Yeah, keeping kids cooped up in the RV for a whole day (or more) can seem like cruel and unusual punishment for the whole family, but just remember one little thing. Some families have the opposite problem; they can’t seem to get their kids outside.
Kids getting bored and anxious to go outside is good problem that many parents wish they could have.
RVing with kids and keeping the couch clean is impossible.
Your RV is small to begin with and no matter how much you downsize, you always end up thinking “I have too much stuff.” Add kids into the mix and just their sweaters and coloring books on the couch is enough to drive you mad!
But that could and would happen in a regular house anyway, so don’t let it deter you from your full-time family dreams.
The never-ending wonder if I’m doing the right thing by RVing with my kids.
Yes! So much yes.
But remember, no matter what your parenting style, there’s going to be worry and scrutiny from everyone else, including your worst critic, yourself. It just comes with the parenting territory. Don’t let this stop you from going with your gut and RVing with your kids.
RVing with kids is awesome and you’re going to gain so much more than what you’ll lose.