Secrets to Full-Time RV Living with Kids
Posted: January 20, 2022
Categories: Travel & Lifestyle
Making the decision to sell your home for full-time life on the road isn’t an easy one, especially when you have kids to consider. Brittnee Proha of Oils & Grace Tribe has experienced some of the challenges of RV life while she’s been full-timing with her husband and their five kids over the last several years. Through the challenges she’s faced, she’s learned that there are a few easy ways to make RV life more comfortable for the whole family, especially the kids. Lucky for you, she’s spilling her secrets. By following her simple steps to successful full-time RV living with kids, you’ll be well on your way to creating more enjoyable experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
6 Secrets to Full-Time RV Living with Kids
by Brittnee Proha of Oils & Grace Tribe
About five years ago, our family of seven began the process of full-time RVing. We had just built our home on 10 beautiful acres in Eastern Washington but felt something was missing. My heart longed to show our kids our beautiful nation, but with a large mortgage and car payments, we couldn't travel often. My parents had full-time RVed years prior, and I loved that they could just pick up and go somewhere new whenever they wanted. I finally convinced my husband, Brentt, to sell our "dream home" and hit the road.
We started out traveling in our 33-foot Heartland Mallard M302 and then later upgraded to a Heartland Cyclone toy hauler. The Mallard was very small. I remember vividly making the kids’ beds every single night and then putting them away every single morning. Our kids never complained but it was hard on us all.
Moving into the toy hauler as a big family showed us how enjoyable family rv living can be. In our first year, we traveled to eight states and since then, we have traveled to 27. We have no desire to do all the states as quickly as possible. Instead, we like to thoroughly enjoy the area and experience the culture.
One of the best parts of living in an RV full-time is that our front/back yard is always changing but our inside remains the same. The kids feel the stability of everything we need in the comfort of our home, but we get to experience new places. Our kids have done school all over the U.S. at this point!
The bamboo table is on our list of favorite products from Lippert™. We set that up inside or outside and sit around it for school. Our kids have had the opportunity to learn from so many different people from different backgrounds. We spend a lot more time pausing and listening to those around us rather than rushing to get through life.
One of our very favorite trips was when we spent Christmas in New York City! We drove into the city and spent all of Christmas week meeting people from all over the world, ice skating, getting lost in Central Park and eating a delicious variety of foods. It was truly a magical experience for all of us.
Among the hardest things about RV life with kids is leaving an area we have fallen in love with. Our kids often talk about some of their favorite places we've been to and how sad they were to leave it. Thankfully, our family travels with lots of friends and family still so we still have an amazing community surrounding us. We ask our kids often if they'd like to stop RVing and get a house and it’s always a very loud, “NO.”
If you are considering the full-time RV life with kids, I have six tips I'd like to give you to get started.
1. Give yourself and your family lots of grace
This is a very different lifestyle and likely one none of your close friends and family have experienced themselves. Although there are lots of books and videos on RVing, it is going to be much different than a sticks and bricks home. Ease into it and flow with what happens.
2. Buy larger
I probably will get a lot of flak for this one, but for our larger family, I wish we would have gone with a bigger fifth wheel or toy hauler right away. It will be your home. Rainy days, hot days, homeschooling, sick days and just life in general HAPPEN. You want space to spread out during those life events.
3. Let your kids be part of the process
Ask them if they’d like to go to a place they have seen before and would like to see again. Or talk about the places they’ve only seen in books and ask them if they’d like to visit those places. Ask them if they would like to visit a monument or historical site, and ask them if they want to go hiking. Get them involved in the process!
4. Teach them to be flexible
Our plans change a LOT! Sometimes we plan on going to Utah for 6 months and then 2 days before we head that way, we are in Indiana. I'd like to say I am being dramatic, but I am not. That happens ALL. THE. TIME. Teach them that it is ok to be flexible and plans will change.
5. Go camping before you go full-time
We actually just jumped right into full-time life, but I think it would have been an easier transition had we camped before. Ask your kids to write out a list of things they love to do when they camp and try to incorporate them more often.
6. Get a Thousand Trails Membership!
If you are wanting to meet other families on the road and have your kids be around other kids, this is the best way to do that. Many full-time families use Thousand Trails to travel, and you will likely be connected with them again during your travels.
If you’re looking for more essential RV apps that help with life on the road, check out Lippert’s list of the top 20 apps recommended by other real RVers.
Here are our favorite Lippert gadgets that help us while RVing with kids:
- You will often find one of us or the kids snuggled up in the Big Bear padded chairs from Lippert. These are super comfy for campfires or naps in the day.
- The folding bamboo table has been a life saver for us! It saves so much room and folds down for easy storage. We pop it up and down wherever we are based on our needs.
- The Screen Assist™ has been a game-changer for our kids coming in and out of the RV.
- We also love the Screen Defender because our kids always would push the mesh out of our door and Brentt was constantly fixing it.
- The Solid Step from Lippert is awesome if you have kids! The wide step on top helps to prevent kids or dads from falling out of the RV.
- We love the Tire Linc®. Thankfully, we have never had a tire blow out and the Tire Linc monitor lets you know that the tires are low before it happens — definitely necessary with children in tow.