How we are mentally preparing our kids for full-time RV life
Moving towards a life of full-time travel is a huge transition for us as adults, and I can only imagine what it will be like for our kids when we ditch the house and hit the road. They probably won’t fully grasp what’s happening until it’s happened, and at that point all hell will probably break lose. Like with any big life transition, we know we need to prep them for the changes we are about to make so, even though the move is a year out, I wanted to share a few things that we are doing to make the transition a little easier.
As a reminder our kids are currently 3 and 4 years old and will be 4 and 5 when we go full time.
1. We talk about living in an RV a lot
We say, “when we live in the RV…” And we brought the to many RV shows to introduce them to the floor plan and layout of RVs. We asked them what bunk they wanted, and luckily it seems like one prefers the top and the other is requesting a bottom. We’ll see if that changes when the time comes.
2. We take them camping
When the kids were babies and small toddlers, we decided to shelf our camping hobby for a couple years. Last fall, we picked it up again. We were mentally prepared to have a painful experience and, aside from our daughter waking up at midnight with a night terror we couldn’t wake her from, it was flawless. They were engaged and excited by everything. They listened and were respectful of our boundaries and rules to keep them safe. We all had an amazing time and have a handful of dates on the calendar to take them tent camping again this summer.
3. We are starting homeschool
Sort of. Both kids will be in preschool 2 days a week next fall, but I am supplementing with a program on their off days to get used to being their teacher. To be honest, I am terrified and feel very unqualified to home school. I was an elementary education major in college, so I know I’m not unqualified, but it feels so overwhelming. Why don’t I just homeschool them full time next year? Because I want them to understand the concept of school and the structure involved before I try to enforce it at home. I am able to say, “Mrs. G. is awesome, but when we live in our RV mommy will be your teacher and we can learn about all the things you like!” We plan to do a curriculum to keep us on track academically, but also use our outings and free time as a chance to “unschool” and pursue their passion projects.
4. We are minimizing their toys and clothing
I’ve always kept their toys to a minimum, because it doesn’t take long for toys to take over your house and your sanity. Lately, we’ve started cutting back the toys even more. I started by collecting all the toys I noticed they didn’t really play with and kept them in a bin in the garage over the winter. They never even noticed they were gone, so this spring I donated them. They have a couple sets of toys that they play with all the time (legos, Calico Critters, action figures, train set, magnetic tiles, play food, dress-up clothes) and I kept a bunch of toys that fell in those categories, but other than that most of their toys were donated. As we weeded out the toys, we had the kids present and talked about how we’d be moving into a smaller space, but we’d get to play outside a lot. We also told them that other kids who didn’t have very many toys would be able to enjoy the toys we didn’t keep. We let them help us choose which toys we kept and got rid of and I was really surprised how willing they were to give their things away.
5. We are getting our Rig a year before we need it
Our official launch date isn’t until June 1st, 2019, but we are actively shopping for our trailer. We plan to have it by June or July. We will keep our scheduled tent camping reservations, but we will also camp in the camper so they (ahem…all of us) can get used to it. We anticipate they will foster a sense of excitement for the new rig and the familiarity will make the move a bit easier.
We are basically keeping everything at the top of mind and conversation and will adjust as needed when the move comes.
It’s fun to talk to them about what it will be like traveling in an RV full time. We ask them what types of things they’d like to see. They obviously want to see dormant volcanos (um, pretty sure we’ll seek out active ones too, because …. Yellowstone) and they talk about the types of animals we may encounter (you know, scary things like kittens and puppies).
Change is hard for everyone, especially kids, but we obviously believe they will grow from this experience and thrive in an environment that fosters creativity and wonder.