RV Living with Kids; 13 Tips to Help for Full Time Camping
Traveling with kids is made easier when you’re in an RV. You have more space for them than if you were crammed into a car. You’re bringing your own bathroom, and that is critical if you’re traveling with young children.
However, RVs have their own challenges, and that is made more difficult when you have children running around. Here are 13 tips on how to enjoy RVing with kids.
Tip 1: Pack healthy, kid-friendly snacks.
While you may be tempted to stash a box of cupcakes or cookies in the pantry, that’s a bad idea. The kids may eat it all when they’re bored. Now you have no snacks left, and they have no room for healthy meals.
The solution is to pack healthy, kid friendly snacks. We say kid-friendly because you don’t want to have to go back and make something when the kids are hungry.
Kid-friendly snacks would be single serve packs of crackers, dried fruit, or granola bars they can get themselves. You could also make your own health snacks
Tip 2: Plan on Regular Run-Arounds
Your children like your pets need regular activity. Plan on stopping several times a day to get up and walk around. And just going to the bathroom at a gas station isn’t enough.
Stop at restaurants with playgrounds to eat and picnic areas with playgrounds. Give your children 10 to 20 minutes to play.
They’ll be far less likely to start fighting with each other out of boredom.
Tip 3: Teach the Kids What They Need to Know
You can minimize the risk of mishaps by teaching the children what they need to know. Teach young children that they can’t flush anything except the correct toilet paper down the toilet. And explain that they must leave precious items in the RV, because you will not be coming back to the places you’re visiting.
Explain what batteries do and how much water your water tanks can hold. Then they’ll understand the reason you want them to turn off water faucets and not leave things running.
Tip 4: Make the RV Familiar to Kids
This is especially true for young children. Do you want them to be able to go to sleep quickly in an RV bed? Take along several familiar blankets and stuffed animals.
Let your children take a preferred pillow or bedspread. This will make the RV more familiar at night, so they’re less likely to wake up in a panic in addition to being able to fall asleep more quickly.
Tip 5: Give Everyone Enough Space
A common mistake people make when taking kids in an RV is assuming that you can have all the kids sleep in one bed. While two young children might share a twin size bed, you shouldn’t ask three or more to do so.
Nor do you want to try to have a family of four sleeping in a queen sized RV bed. You also want to split the kids up when they sleep so there is less risk of them fighting because one kicked the other or took all the blankets.
Consider letting your oldest child sleep in the sleeping berth over the driver’s seat while the younger ones sleep on the dining seats turned into a bed.
If you are afraid the child will roll out of the elevated sleeping berth, have them sleep on the floor.
Tip 6: Have Plenty of Spare Clothes
Kids are messy. And on an adventure, they’re going to get into a mess. Take lots of spare clothes, including underwear. While this takes up more space, it allows you to go longer without having to do laundry.
Tip 7: Have Backup Meal Plans
You might plan on making dinner over a roaring fire every night. However, you might arrive late to the campsite with hungry kids who don’t want to wait. Or your barbecue may come out burnt.
Save your family from misery and have backup meal plans. Keep a few cans of soup and pasta in the pantry that you can just pop open and serve.
Tip 8: Take Steps to Control the Potential Mess
Get a door mat to limit how much dirt is tracked in. If possible, have people take off their shoes before they come into the vehicle. Have a dedicated dirty laundry bag to collect dirty clothes.
Give children drawers or bags to store toys in so that they don’t end up bouncing around the RV while you’re driving.
Tip 9: Bring Entertainment
While riding in an RV is initially exciting, your kids will not entertain themselves for hours by looking out the window. While traveling together creates the opportunity to talk, that isn’t going to be enough to fill all the hours, either.
Bring entertainment that is RV-friendly. For example, bring travel games that won’t have pieces scatter everywhere if you make a sharp turn.
Pack books and workbooks for your older children.
Tip 10: Make the Trip Educational
Pick up maps and let your children use the trip to learn about geography. Teach them how to read maps and use GPS devices.
Visit local tourist attractions and use it as the basis of a history lesson.
Tip 11: Know How to Keep Kids Safe
No one wants a trip to end in disaster, so know how to keep kids safe. That may mean bringing a baby gate to contain younger travelers, ideally above the RV stairs.Teach children to wear seat belts any time the RV is moving. Discuss safety matters like not moving wheel chocks or jacks, because it could lead to someone getting hurt.
Explain to kids why they shouldn’t touch the propane stove unless old enough to control it. Teach older children what carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms mean so that they can respond appropriately if they go off.
Don’t forget to pack medical supplies for the family. Pack a first aid kid, and take extra essentials like antibiotic cream and antihistamines. Take child-safe fever reducers and pain relievers.
Pack medicine for an upset stomach or diarrhea. Take your prescription medications along like rescue inhalers.
Tip 12: Stay at Family-Friendly Campgrounds
Choose to stay at family-friendly playgrounds whenever possible over boon-docking or parking on the side of the road. Some campgrounds are more family-friendly than others. For example, some state parks may only provide power, water and bathrooms.
Some have playgrounds that are great for children of all ages. A few have swimming pools that older kids will love. The best RV sites will have on-site activities for kids in addition to laundry.
And if you have young children, you’ll love the ability to do five loads of laundry while the children play at a de facto daycare.
Tip 13: Schedule Family Friendly Stops
When RVing with kids, choose stops that are family-friendly. Consider stopping at entertainment venues that have activities for the whole family instead of having to leave Mom behind with the two year old.
Go paddle boarding over wake boarding so your six year old can participate. If you go hiking, choose a gentle trail that the four year old can walk with everyone else.
An RV is one of the most family-friendly ways to travel. However, you have to take steps to keep everyone safe and happy so that you get the most enjoyment out of your trip.