9 Tips for Successful RVing With Kids
So you’re thinking about buying an RV, or maybe you just have. You’ve been dreaming for a long time of all the great road trips you and your family will take. There’s just one doubt nagging at you, one that haunts your dream at the fringes: what’s it going to be like RVing with kids? Young ones too. Maybe you’ve got a range of ages from toddlers to teens. You know what a chaotic, nerve-wracking menace they can be at home, how about cooped up in a small enclosed space moving through heavy traffic for hours at a time? Or unleashing them to terrorize an innocent, unsuspecting campground? It’s enough to make you break out in a cold sweat.
Relax. With a little imagination and planning, and some common sense precautions, you and your family can have a lovely, mostly relaxing time on your RV journeys.
Tips For RVing With Kids
- Get the whole family involved with planning. The kids will love being a part of the planning process, and they’ll feel a personal responsibility for making it a success if they feel like they’ve been an important part of making it happen. Which means they might behave better and be easier to manage. Also make them understand that there are certain expectations that you expect them to live up to on the trip.
- Choose your campgrounds and/or RV parks carefully. Do some research on the camping sites you’d like to use while you’re planning your trip with an eye to kid-friendliness. Campground Reviews can give you an idea of whether a facility is a good one for kids. You’ll notice that some sites will charge an extra fee if you have children, which is a sign they might not be that welcome there. Look for things your family will like to do, like hiking and horseback riding. Playgrounds and open spaces are a big plus of course.
- Plan your stops ahead of time. You know with kids you’ll have to make fairly frequent stops to use the restroom, eat, and stretch, so plan those out too. Many rest stops have wonderful facilities these days and even small hiking trails and playgrounds, but not all of them will. All of them will be able to handle any size RV. A lot of fast food places also have play facilities for smaller children. It’s also a good idea to plan at least one fun stop per day too, like a roadside attraction, scenic overlooks, historical sites, and museums.
- Prepare for indoors entertainment. You’ll be spending long hours on the road of course, and even with stops, there will be a lot of time for your kids to kill. And then there are the inevitable rainy days when they’ll be stuck inside. They’ll have their laptops, smartphones, computer games, and videos of course, but maybe you’d like to get them away from their devices for a while. It’s supposed to be a family vacation after all. So bring along some board games and cards, art supplies, books for reading aloud, and anything that you can do as a group, or singly and quietly.
- Make the best use of your limited space. An RV is more than a car, it’s like a small rolling home. And just like at home, you’re going to have a lot of stuff. The difference is you don’t have the room in an RV to just put it anywhere or lets your kids throw their things all over the place. Plan and equip for organization. Keep what you really need inside and carry as much as you can in an outside luggage rack. Bring hangers for the closet and use those drawers. And make your kids follow the rules, it’ll be good practice.
- Create a schedule for chores. Although it’s a lot smaller than your house and there’s not as much to take care of, you still have chores to be done, and in some ways they’re more challenging in an RV. For instance, in a confined area things get messed up a lot more quickly. So organize a daily schedule to take care of them, unless you want to take care of them immediately, which is probably best. And if your kids take responsibility for chores at home, they should on the road too.
- Create a mud room at the door. As you know, when kids get outdoors they have a tendency to get dirty. So set up a space right outside the door where they can shed their muddy shoes and clothes. You can use a simple and inexpensive plastic awning if you’d like to have cover, a small bench or just a log rolled up to the door to sit on, and of course a doormat. It’s a good idea to lay a plastic tarp down too. This will go a very long way towards keeping your floors clean.
- Use a baby gate. If you have very small children, don’t depend on being able to keep an eye on them all the time. There are just too many things around the typical campsite, a fire and sharp tools for instance, for them to get hurt on. Or lost. Get a good quality baby pen and use it for safety and peace of mind.
- Bring a tent. Kids of all ages love sleeping outside in a tent, it makes them feel like they’re on their own and roughing it, and gives them some private space. It also frees up room inside the RV and gives you and your spouse some much needed private time too.
With a little planning and a lot of patience, you and your family will have a wonderful time on your RV vacations. Especially after the first time, because then you’ll all be experienced trekkers and things will go much more smoothly. But remember, it will be noisy at times, it will be messy, and there will be frustrations. But that’s nothing new. Remember you’re all on an adventure, and have fun.