Some of us find it hard to imagine the fun and free feeling of the #VanLife when there are kids involved. Others even give up on the idea completely because of the thought of having to raise kids in a small space. Definitely, for most of us, this is not an easy decision because of the amount of preparation required. With kids, you have to plan about their health, their education, and their skill development in other areas. Despite these concerns, however, a growing number of parents think that the adventurous life on the road is worth it.
Is a van life with kids possible? Yes, a life on the road with your family is possible. However, both commitment and preparation are necessary in making this choice because it is going to be very challenging, especially at the beginning.
A life on the road holds countless possibilities for your family which makes it exciting for both you and your children. However, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies out there. So, in this article, we will be going over the pros and cons of the #VanLife with kids. We will also be discussing some of the tips and tricks you can follow to ensure that your experience in a mobile home is the best one possible. If you want to see a clear picture of what it’s like on the road with your family, continue reading.
Life on the Road With Your Family
Some Things to Consider Before Living the #VanLife
There are some questions you need to answer before you live in a van with your family. First of all, you need to know how much space you need. This is because, above anything else, the space you need determines whether or not van life is possible with your kids. Aside from this, other related considerations may be the age of your children, whether or not your family is comfortable with spending a lot of time outside, what activities you plan on doing, and where you plan to stay for most of the year.
Knowing these details before you embark on a new journey ensures that you have a clear picture of what life is going to be like for you and your family. It also allows you to prepare the necessary arrangements for your children, especially ones that involve their education and healthcare.
The Pros of #VanLife With Kids
A Close Relationship With Your Children
Of course, a close relationship with your children is the first pro you can expect, not just from sharing a small space with your family, but also from the time you’ll spend together. As your children grow up on the road, they’ll have unique experiences with you that they can look back to once they get older. More than that, these adventures allow your kids to have fun with you and, consequently, also allow you to share things with your children.
Definitely, this kind of lifestyle helps your children become more open to you because, in this environment, you can become both a parent and a friend to your kids much more easily.
A Spirit of Adventure and Flexibility
One of the things your children can get from their life on the road is the love for adventure. When they grow up going on spontaneous trips and learning about nature and culture first-hand, you can inculcate a sense of adventurism in them. This way, your children also grow up to be very flexible people who remain calm and collected when things don’t happen as expected. Certainly, with the different kinds of adventure they experience, they learn to be more independent and how to think out of the box when the situation calls for it.
Although this mainly talks about how your children grow up to be, do not mistake this spirit of adventure and flexibility to be something only your children can experience. As an adult, you can also learn a thing or two from riding the waves and going with the flow.
An Opportunity to Learn More About the World and Be More Reflective
Since you live on the road full-time, you and your kids have more opportunities to live a life away from just gadgets and screen time. While traveling, you can spend more time outside and interact with things you’ve never seen or known before; you can meet people from all walks of life; and you can experience nature in a way that makes you appreciate it more.
Consequently, you can discover things about yourself from these interactions because they can let you see a part of yourself that you have not explored. When you look at the world with a fresh perspective, you can then also become more reflective and appreciative of the world around you.
The Cons of #VanLife With Kids
Lack of Space
Although this con goes without saying, it’s an essential aspect of living together as a family in a van. You have to realize that kids who don’t mind just sleeping next to you will eventually grow up. Privacy is a very important matter for teenagers so, you might want to take that into consideration when choosing what van to get or even when deciding whether or not you should take on the #VanLife. Of course, things might be different with teenagers who took part in the decision to live in a van as there is a conscious effort on their part to adjust to the circumstances. However, that’s not always the case.
Experiences Your Kids Could Miss Out On
Just as much as your kids can experience many unique things on the road, they’ll miss out on the things that come with a traditional home. For example, your children may find it hard to create long-term friendships with people they meet on the road. Definitely, you can do your best to have the kids communicate with friends they’ve made from different places. But, even if you keep the other parents’ contact details, it may be hard for the children to relate with one another when they don’t meet that often.
Aside from friendships, you could also miss out on a lot of family events. So, your kids won’t meet with relatives that often and they may not have the opportunity to get closer with their grandparents and cousins their age.
Certainly, there is always the danger of having important belongings in your mobile home. It becomes especially dangerous when people can see inside your van. So, make sure to tint your windows and set up blinds. On top of that, the danger of being in a vehicle most of the time is also a factor to consider when talking about safety. Make sure to install the necessary equipment to keep you and your kids safe when you are driving.
Tips and Tricks for the #VanLife With Kids
Be in the Right Mindset: Don’t Expect it to Be Easy
Do not underestimate the amount of preparation that needs to be done before you embark on this journey. It is easy to get fooled by the perfect feeds you see on Instagram with happy smiles and well-kept vans that make it seem as if the #VanLife is just that simple. You have to be in the right mindset and prepare yourself for the many unexpected events that could happen while your family is in the van. Those with experience even say that if you like to always be in control of things, the van life may not be for you.
Do Your Research
This step is especially important if you have kids who should already be in school. You can do your research about what other parents have done (or do) to make sure that their kids still get a good education even while they are on the road. There are various options like online schools and roadschooling, so you don’t have to worry.
As for getting the necessary guidance for this, there are a lot of videos on YouTube where actual parents living in vans share their experience and even their set up. This way, you can learn about the techniques you can apply once you’re out there too. Most of these parents give out their contact details. So, if you don’t know anyone else, asking them about your questions could also be a good idea.
Try It Out First
Before leaving your home and all of your other belongings for good, you can actually just try out living in the van on a short vacation with your family. This gives you an opportunity to simulate how things are going to work. For example, you can get a good idea of how you can organize your things given the limited space and how you are going to get your basic needs like food. Thus, this is very important because it gives you a chance to rethink your decisions and to see if the van life is really for you and your family.
When living in a van, it is vital that you set up a way that everyone in your family can speak up about what they feel. This communication makes it easier for everyone who lives in the van to feel happy and comfortable even with the small space. More importantly, this allows you to get a perspective of what works and what doesn’t, especially with your kids’ perspective. This will help you ensure that even when you are on the road, you are building a loving home for your kids and that you are choosing a lifestyle that works for everyone.
All in all, when you do decide to live on the road as a family, you must also do what you can to prepare yourself for that kind of life. You have to carry the responsibility of a parent who has to ensure that the kids get what they need. More than that, you also have to ensure that they are not missing on important aspects like education and building relationships with friends and other family members. This may feel a bit heavy and daunting, but once your family is out there, experiencing the wonders of nature and culture that other people can’t, you’ll see just why those who live the van life say it’s worth it.