Many aspects of a camper van will benefit you when you decide to call it your home. You will have the opportunity to see the world and travel while having a place to sleep and house your belongings. When you live in a van with kids, there are different things that you will need to make a note of to ensure the health and security of the children.
Gradually Prepare Them for Their New Life
If you have lived with your kids in a house, apartment, or some form of stationary home for most of their lives, converting to van life will be difficult. The differences in spatial freedom and constantly being in a new place are disorienting for children, as they need stability and routine in their lives. To ensure their transition into van life is smoother, you could take a few trips with the kids using the camper van.
Start with short trips and gradually work your way up to trips halfway across the country. The increasing distance will help them grow accustomed to staying in the van for longer periods, so try to make frequent plans for van trips.
Expect Some Resistance
It’s a fact that people resist change and thrive in what they know to be constant. The same truth applies to children put into a new environment where they’ll need to acclimate and find comfort. As a parent, you should expect some resistance from your children when you first start your journey into van life.
Many children are more intelligent than we consider them to be and will understand this new lifestyle’s current and future hardships, such as the smaller space and constant relocation. Your child may fuss and cry, wanting to return to the home they once knew, which is why it’s important to have constructive conversations with kids. Let your child know that their feeling of discontent is valid and try to find some middle ground where both parents and children may find some enjoyment and comfort.
Make Sure Everyone Has a Little Personal Space
Living alone in your camper van feels quaint and comfortable with the right furnishings, but you should know that van life with your kids may be cramped and uncomfortable. Camper vans normally hold up to six people, but the more people in the van, the less room each person has. Luckily, there are ways to configure the area in the van so that each person has space to sleep and a spot to place their things.
Collapsible or built-in shelves, stands, and tables will give everyone space so that they’ll have a small area to perform their tasks. Assigning sleeping arrangements will provide people with the potential for more leg room so that they don’t feel cramped while sleeping. Try your best to give your kids personal space, both physically and emotionally, since they don’t have room to seclude themselves.
Be Prepared for Constant Rest Stops
Children have smaller bladders than adults and need to use the bathroom more often. While on the road or between campgrounds, you’ll most likely need to make more stops so that the kids can stretch their legs and relieve themselves. And since kids have so much energy, the rest stops will act as small moments for them to move around and expend themselves so that they won’t feel antsy on the road. Parents should also take time to stock up on snacks; this way, the kids always have something to eat and occupy themselves with.
You Will Need a Lesson Plan
Whether you live in a van part-time or full-time with your kids, they will still need to have an education. It isn’t easy to teach kids while on the road and moving around constantly, but there are various methods to achieve some semblance of education. You could start by teaching your kids specific lessons they’ll utilize in real life, such as the value of money or how to fix the engine of a Ford Transit. These real-life skills will help them in their adult life and teach them different ways of thinking.
There are also different mnemonic devices that will help them learn and remember things, such as state capitals, multiplication tables, and parts of the English language. During your time at rest stops or campgrounds, you could also assign brief quizzes and offer a treat as a reward for passing. Every child learns differently, so make sure you tailor your teaching methods to their learning style.
Playgrounds and Splashgrounds Are Your Friends
For children, spending time in settings with other kids and enjoying playtime is essential. While on the road, there aren’t always things to do for fun. Hiking, fishing, or a quick game of catch at a campground is excellent but isn’t always exciting. Every town, city, or state has some form of play area for kids, and these places will help your children stay active and potentially make friends.
Make sure you take your kids here frequently so that they’ll have fun and burn off energy. Splashgrounds are great for places with a high heat index, such as the south or out west, so your kids will have fun and the whole family has a place to cool off.
Chores Are Important, Even on the Road
When you have a house or live stationary, there are always chores. Your kid’s chores are still important when living in a van. Assigning duties to the kids will help them with the concept of responsibility. Even something as small as cleaning the Ford Transit bug screen will help them learn to take care of their living space.
Organization Is Hard but Not Impossible
Everyone will have clothes and other items that need storing, and the space you have in the van isn’t always ideal for storage. But you still have ways of keeping things organized by using bins, containers, and bags to keep things tidy. A chaotic living space will lead to a chaotic lifestyle, so clean when you can.
Quiet Hours Will Keep Things Peaceful
In a vehicle where everyone is within a few feet of each other, it may be challenging to keep the noise down. Quiet hours offer you and your kids time to enjoy the silence and focus on the scenery outside. Everyone appreciates time to themselves in a peaceful setting, so set a time for silence throughout the day.
Hiking Is a Good Way To Keep the Family Fit
You will most likely visit natural places as you drive around in your camper. Taking time to hike as a family will give the kids some fresh air and allow everyone to stretch their legs and experience the world. Exploring new places with people you care about is a great way to restore mental energy and make your time on the road more manageable.
Van life with kids has its ups and downs, but it’s overall a pleasant experience. You will need to be wary of many things, but with this guide, you will enjoy your time in your camper with your kids.