Fulltiming With Kids
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As you may know by now we have been blessed with the sweetest little boy in the world via adoption this year. Yes, we decided before we knew if he was ours forever that we were going to move into a camper for a while even if we were able to keep him.
Why? We want him to have the best life possible. For us that is living simply, not being indebted, and being able to spend the maximum time together as a family. At this time in our lives we think that fulltime rv living will be the perfect way to do that. Here’s some bonus’ to living in a camper with a little one:
- Everything is pretty much already baby proofed. Serious score.
- Not much room for toys and extras therefore I will have much less mess than the average household.
- Maximum time to be together as a family and enjoy family activities.
- Space. We are currently working on a custom design inside our camper to be able to fit us all comfortably.
- Rainy days. Most of the time we will be able to be outdoors but I have a feeling that rainy days may cause some cabin fever.
Personally we think the pros far outweigh the cons. Plus we are excited that the campground we will be staying at has playgrounds and nice paved roads for daily walking, I don’t think we will have a lack of things to do!
Like I mentioned above we are working on fixing the non-baby-friendly parts of the camper before we move in. To find these spots and areas I just let the baby crawl around in the camper right now to see where he goes and where he gets into! Mostly this means working on the front area of the camper where the seats are, I will be posting pics of our renovation once it’s complete! We are also making room for another bed, our rv does have pull out beds but we want something permanent and something that will work for a growing toddler (that would easily escape anything without sides!).
For toys/kids stuff we are building a special area for his clothing. Baby things are hard to hang up so I’d rather have drawers. Toys will have one area in the camper. That way it’s all contained in one spot, we can have minimal things, and there is always a place for the toys to go back to. I also plan on having a special area with learning things. Paper, markers, stickers, any activities that we will do together. We can think of this as our “school drawer.”
We know we are in for a different challenge than we had from living in the camper before but what’s life without a little adventure? 🙂
Catch up on our full series about Fulltime RV Living!
Could you live in an rv with kids?
Congratulations on your sweet little boy, Merissa! He will bring much joy to your and your husband’s lives.
God bless, Kathy in Illinois
Thanks Kathy, he’s already been more of a blessing than I could have ever imagined!
Congratulations on the adoption process going through! Coming from a fulltimer with four young kids – it is possible! It will likely take you some time to figure out a system, but you’re right, the pros do outweigh the cons, and your son will love it. My kids like having a small home, with a lot of outdoor space to run of course!
We lived full time in a camper a couple of years ago while we were building a house. It DOES has its challenges… The biggest one we encountered was the campground we stayed at… But once we got that fixed it was actually very nice… Some things I would think about/plan for: laundry, make an outside living space, make sure you have reliable internet, and food storage.
Good luck – I am sure you will love it!
Congratulations on the adoption of your son. How wonderful for all of you. God is great.
You can do wonderful things in a small RV. I grew up in a small trailer home. My parents and 4 kids lived in a 8X30 mobile home. My father built bunk beds in the ‘living room’ that folded up against the wall….we had just one sofa for all of us to sit on. Everyone else sat on kitchen chairs. Most meals we ate out side on a picnic table…or in rain we had some snack trays. Toys were kept under my parent’s bed or in the back of my parent’s car.
Congratulations on this wonderful addition to your sweet family! Best wishes!
Congratulations! And enjoy your RV time.
We went on the road in an RV for the better part of a year with two kids, then lived in it parked for another chunk or time after our third was born. Very possible! 🙂
I’ve been following you for a few years now. I’m so excited that your adoption dream came true. Enjoy your sweet baby boy!
Love reading this! We do not live in an RV but we do live in an 800 sq ft 1969 Model mobile home at this time. It’s hard for a family of 6 space wise but we have made it work for the last almost 4 years. We will however be moving next week into a 2700 sq ft home that is definitely a fixer upper so the price we got it for is just amazing. Good things come to those who wait! Good Luck to you in your Journey!
We are just now in the “sell everything” stage, about to go full time in our RV, and we have two little girls — a four year old and a two year old. We’ve really been out in our RV so often that it’s no big deal for them. Come to think of it, we got our first camper when our oldest was just 6 months old, so she’s grown up around the camper (not that she’s really grown up yet LOL). Our girls absolutely love it! They get so excited when we start packing it up. I’ve talked with our oldest about what it will be like when we live in the camper and how it will be better to get rid of all our extra stuff that we don’t really need. She seems to understand it and we are all super excited about it. We have yet to see how it goes a few months into it, but I can’t think it would be any worse than our longest trips (about two weeks) which were wonderful times for us. I wish you the best of luck in getting yours all fixed up! I can’t wait to see the pictures because I might want to borrow some of your reno ideas!! 😀
I would have to say we love the idea of someone living and getting of the grid per say. We have a few hurdles though we are major preppers so we worry about storing our stockpile and we have kids and pets. The kids are teenagers so it would be easier to get them out on their own before downsizing. Our pets though are family how well will that work we wonder and what about weather. We live in Indiana south of the lakes so our weather is unpredictable and sometimes very severe blizzards, tornados, ice storms and hail. We wonder about durability and temp control during super hot humid and super sub zero. Has anyone else confronted these things? We have 5 years to prep and have 2 year stockpile for 6 people is it realistic and feasable for us to accomplish?
Hi, me and my husband are planning on living in a camper. I just want to ask some questions. Sorry to be a bother but I’m just hoping maybe you’ll have some time to answer.
1. How many times can we take a shower or use the bathroom in the camper?
2. How often do you guys go to dump stations?
3. How often do you fill your propane?
4 Also, just in case you know, is it allowed in lived in a camper in the State of Illinois?
Your response will be very much appreciated. Thank you and have a wonderful day!
1. It would depend on how big your tank is and how big your family is. We have an 85 gallon tank for black water (toilet) and we can use it for a month before it fills. Grey water tank is the same size and it fills up for us in about 2 to 3 days.
2. We almost always try and find campgrounds with a dump station.
3. It’s winter here now so we fill propane once a week. We have 4 to 6 tanks we go through each week. In the summer we hardly used anything.
4. I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure it’s not illegal anywhere as long as you are in a designated camping area.
I hope that helps!
I am grateful that I found your site. My hubby and I are seriously thinking about selling our home (fortunate to have a lot of equity) and purchasing a RV to live in with our three boys. We live in Southern California and have owed several RV’s over the years (my current car is a class B roadtrek). Feeling really nervous about making that move even though are children are completely supportive of the idea. How did you make this transition? We have gone through Ups and Downs financially since 2008 but also feel to our bones this is the move to make. I have not seen a family living like this (most blogs are couples). What would you do different and what size is your RV. God Bless
We made the transistion slowly. (Our son is very resistant to change.) Each day we’d play out in the camper a little longer and slowly move his toys into it. Finally after about 2 weeks of this and moving things over we spent the night and didn’t have any issues! I’m not sure what we would do differently, we are pretty happy with how everything has gone. Our RV is a 39 foot bunkhouse. (So it has 2 rooms)
Hi Jenn! Did you do it? We’re seriously considering it and have 3 kids ourselves… just wondering if you made the jump and how its working for you 🙂
My questions is this. My husband is going to retire in 2 years . We want to be as close to debt free as possible. We have paid cash for two acres. We would like to sell our house and live in the RV on the land for the two years .We have two sons 12/8 who are good with the idea. What are your thoughts?
I think as long as it’s do-able and everyone is on board than you should be good to go!
So glad to hear that there is some young life out on the road. My family and I have been full-timing for about 8 months, but have been parked for a good portion of it. We have an almost 2 year old little girl that doesn’t seem to mind the smaller space. I was wondering if along the way you have noticed any “childproof” ideas that you would like to share. Our little peanut specifically likes to play with all the low switches (lights, water pump, fans) and the navigation/radio/jack system buttons. She is curious (and 2!) so we understand, but would really like for little hands to play with little kid things instead of important gadgets.
Merissa, I was looking into adoption today and spoke to a local (Florida) official who said no to living in an RV. Although in our situation we the parents would’ve been staying in the RV and the kids in the house, so it’s different than your situation. Did they give pushback on your RV plans?
We’d already legally adopted when we moved into the rv. I think it also really depends on your social worker so it’s hard to say.
I want to do this. I’ve always had an insettled feeling and have not like being rooted to one spot. My partner and I now have a little girl and I want to give a life I would have loved to have lived but… What about schooling?
I believe all of the full timers with kids that we’ve spoken too have done some kind of homeschooling.
Hi, I came across your blog and have so many questions for you! I think its amazing that your living in an RV with a kid and lately have been thinking how amazing the simple life would be to do that myself! I have two little ones, ages 4 and 2 and want to know what the real cost is for buying an RV, what do real monthly payments look like for you, water, gas, electric, RV site rental or camp ground? How did you get a custom RV or where? What about kids schooling? I would like to stay where we are state and city wise but want a more affordable option for living. Do you have a post where you address all these questions? I would truly love to hear more about this! Thanks
Hi Kristen, if you haven’t already you will want to read the full Fulltime RV Living series, that should answer many of your questions. Costs are going to vary greatly depending on what kind of camper you decide you need. Our payment was $430 per month which we thought was rather high. Water, gas, electric, and site rental will depend on the campground and the season of the year. Our rv was not custom, it was a standard Open Range 413RLL model. Most that live in an rv fulltime (that are traveling) homeschool their children. If you are going to stay in one place you may have other options. I hope that helps!
I am considering RV living with my son who is 8 yrs old. My only concern at this moment will be his education. I want him to have a peaceful normal life in the road. If you are a parent with this experience please provide me where to get the proper information on how to go about RV living with a child.
We are also planning on living full time on the road, mainly in CA. We will have two toddlers by the time we are ready.
Does anyone know how the schools and cps will feel about this? I’m terrified they will see our situation as unfit.
We want to be off the grid, staying at free national parks and using a solar system.
Hi-just wanted to update here for some real experience and family life. First, THANK YOU MERISSA for your invaluable advice on the choice of camper. We chose a 29′ fifth wheel-1990 model. We have a 14 and 17 year old with us. We have been here for over a month now in our camper and couldnt be happier. We camped for months on end before so the teens were used to it but I can safely say my 17 year old was not too thrilled at first. Over the past weeks however, we have actually gotten him to say that he has adjusted and is really happy here. We are in Fl so the days are perfect really while the nights are still fairly cool. We have used our heat occasionaly but prefer to bundle with blankets if we need to. Downsizing was a little difficult for a few items but actually all of us did fine. There is also plenty of storage room in this camper. The kids, whom lived in theirs rooms on x box or with cable, or both, are now together without problems most of the day and much, much less fighting (mostly about items they had anyhow….). My daughter has been home schooled so this is no change while my son has been enrolled in the local high school. He has recently, however switched half of his classes to at home online with the school (an option here) and only attends now part time. He drives himself now so it is simple. He actually did this because he began to enjoy more time here with us at the camper. Much else has changed and wanted to really put out there. I am in my mid forties- I have suffered severe migraines for the past 6 years now. My husband and I noticed when we were camping last year that they were more manageable. I was getting to be completely unable to function without days of crying and constant pain. The kids didnt have a great mom for that. Stress was another large factor, even maintenance of the house besides costs.Cleaning on top of that was just so stressful as I am leaning on OCD as a personality. I dont know which helped but I am almost certain it is being able to keep air flowing, even in the bedroom. My migraines are less frequent and when they hit I can manage them so much better. I have not slept this well in years in all honesty. I am better for the kids and we are able to do more as a family. At the house I would try to make a day to force seeing each other at least once a week. My very great kids would look forward to it and then I would be down with a migraine and not even nice to be around. We play games together a lot (our christmas was gifts for the camper such as boardgames, karaoke machine, new thick roll up comforters, more pjs and activities with books) and they read more. We do have internet but opted to not have cable. Ours comes off of a dish so that we can move next year without being tied to this spot. There are also other very nice rv parks around here within a few miles and we would like to be free to do that. Our plans have solidified more this past month; we would like to travel more when our son graduates. He would like to go to NY state next year so we are planning to head there for the nicer months. I do work now and we do get monthly rental payments from renting the house out. We would like to follow parks that need local help as part time work to add to savings but it’s not something that is a necessity for us; our expenses are much lower now for sure and we are able to save for the first time in a very long time. No taxes to pay anymore (our yearly taxes on our house actually could pay half of the monthly rent we pay here yearly including our utilities). The downside is you have to be more patient with everything; I have a 30 second rule with the kids, putting something back or washing one of our 5 plates, 5 bowls, 5 cups etc, takes 30 seconds, opening a cupboard or putting something back under your bed takes this time or less. It has worked for all of us so there is minimal cleaning now. I have help for the first time in ages as well! My son is actually saying he is happy to have a nerdy but great mom and pop (smile) and they are both now happy with the smaller things (a barbecue, extra weekly ice cream, a walk to the state park, even a new local baseball hat or even a dvd for the family we can watch together). I am very proud of my kids really. While this cant work for everyone it has been fantastic for us. I am better for my family and they are happy for that; couldnt be more proud of them. Our homeschool schedule is very strict right now and we spend a lot of time at the local library as well. I am in one area but can say for anyone travelling that anywhere you visit for some months, there is a library close enough with guest passes that can be used. Some have options even for a local monthly card for guests that will expire 30 days from the date purchased. It is very inexpensive. We have a state forest pass that will get us into any park here in Fl; there are many other memberships that can be used for full time on the road rvers. We do laundry at the local laundromat once a week-cost runs 5 to $7 depending. We have our showers here in the camper and they are not long-also not every day but every other day on a schedule. The space really is not a problem with the bunks (something I now tell anyone to get with or without kids if they want space or some privacy. This was the largest concern for my son but, with the curtain he feels he can go there for privacy). We are planning to take out the sofa and put a daybed there for my daughter then add curtains along the divider of the slideouts for night privacy. There is a shelf and other areas she puts her books and stuffed toys there behind where she sleeps so she is very happy.
I wanted to know all these things before changing so I hope this helped anyone with any different doubts or thoughts. One thing to add; no matter where you go there will be people with their own thoughts on how you should raise your kids, their own huge judgements and this will not help that. I feel this area is really good to be in for that; there are many full time rvers in Fl-young and old. That was a huge concern of mine but actually there was always judgements on what kind of parent I was no matter where we lived. Not much of a difference. What makes your family happy is really what is best for all of you. Most here are not even surprised and when we told the local librarian she showed us a couple of really great fulltime rv living books. There is a retired older man that does a puzzle each week there and my daughter has gotten to be a helper and friend to him and they are there with the kids in the after school programs. There are also kids at the rv parks here.
Adding only that we also have 2 very beloved and very spoiled chihuahuas as well as a caged rabbit (free run abouts one hour a day in the camper). They are wonderful to have, they love the walks and the air and it is not much more to have pets with you. I have taken out the carpet and we are now redoing the floor to a wood vinyl as well as adding curtains and updating the camper with new wallpaper, etc. We have also added a top area for the cage that the rabbit can be in but out of the way. We had to update some things but this camper was really worth it-keeping anything that can attract more dust and fur out is helping a lot with the pets.
Thanks again for the great site; helped so much before getting in to our camper.
hi Dawn–what is the process for enrolling your son in the local high-school? What address can you use for the “district boundary”? thanks.
Did you have any trouble passing a home study while living in the camper? We are currently full timers while we save up money to pay cash for a house. We are wanting to adopt but I worry about the homestudy. Our camper is 34 feet and right now its just the hubby and me. I know we can make it work, but how to I prove that? Would love your advice! Thanks!
We finalized our homestudy after we moved out but did work on it during our time in the camper. The decision would be up to your licensing organization or social worker.
My husband and I have 2 boys and a girl. I would love to make this work for my family. Is there a certain type of RV/trailer that you would recommend for a family of 5?
Each family is going to have different needs, I recommend just heading to a couple of camper dealerships and getting a feel for what you might like. The most important part is that each member of the family has their own little space.
I have followed your blog for years while dreaming of living the RV life with my kids. Through a series of “unfortunate events” I am finally getting the opportunity to try it. A short 60 day stint and in a pop up but still so excited.
hello my name is kathleen i have been thinking of buying an rv and liveing out of it with my bf and two small children one that is 4 and the other 2 ive been thinking of doing some traveling is this iglgal? if i do this can the state take my children from me thinking of maybe moveing to a campsite or something like that is this ileagel?
Hi, I have a question about doing this with small children. Our four year old could sleep pretty much wherever, but what about our one-year old, who is in a crib? The only solution I can come up with is a pack-n-play, which would mostl likely have to be set-up and broken down with every use. Any other solutions found by more experienced parents?
A pack and play can work well, you can get a little bit better mattress for them too if you are concerned about comfort. We used a mini crib which was like a regular crib but the size of a pack and play.
Good to know, thank you!
Thank you for the blog! My wife and I also adopted our 10 year old son over a year ago now. We are very set on downsizing and moving full time into a 5th wheel. We are looking at staying annualy in an RV park here in St Petersburg Florida. My question is are there parks that accommodate families? We are in our mid 30’s and almost every quality RV park we search for says they are 55+ community. Do these places still offer spots for people like us?
What about as a single mom? What your opinion about living RV life full time, moving whenever I want, while raising two sweet boys who are 9 and 4 months. Do you think my boys may need more stability? I’m definitely ready to do something like this. And I feel that withy job as a nurse this may be possible.
I’m still unsure how to do the RV thing with a loud, hyperactive, VERY PHYSICAL little boy and his currently-learning-to-crawl baby sister, particularly in inclement weather (including not just storms but 110 F with a furnace breeze, or stupid-cold and wet). And how does a little one play outside safely without a fence at times when the parents have to be doing something else (cleaning, cooking, whatever) and he has no older sibling? Hubby and I want to travel for a good chunk of each year and homeschool/roadschool, but we’ve never traveled with little kids and we’re kind of grimacing at the thought of some of the practicalities, though I’m sure some of it is just a matter of having so little insight into a whole new paradigm :-1
How do you enroll a child into school if you live full time in a Camper/RV ?
If you are stationary you will still have an address and can enroll your children in school if you choose to do so. Many that live in an RV, especially those that travel, homeschool their children.
Do you have a follow up post about how everything has turned out for you? My husband and I want to live on the road with our son (currently 3 months old), but we’re concerned about raising an only child on the road (social aspect). Any experience or advice?
Yes, you can find my follow up on “What We Learned After a Year of Fulltime RV Living” on this page along with other articles. https://www.littlehouseliving.com/fulltime-rv-living Look under the “Here We GO Again” section for our most recent journey of living in an RV with 3 kids last year 🙂