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By Liz Wilcox

For over a year now, my family has been living in an RV full time. I’ve watched my child grow in so many ways, some expected and some not. RVing with kids is fun, exciting, messy, loud, frustrating — and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Your kids will fall in love with the great outdoors.

When you’re at a campground, the air is fresh, the animals are near, and the possibilities are endless. I love to see kids running around the lake, climbing trees and hiking trails. One of my own fondest childhood memories took place at a campground: During a game of tag, I discovered a creek with beautiful pebbles on its bank. I stopped running for a moment to grab a pebble for each of my siblings and myself.

Twenty years later, we still have these pebbles.

girl playing in water

Nighttime presents its own opportunities for children to fall in love with nature. Now that my daughter Chelsea is getting older, we are teaching her to build a fire. She is learning to gather natural materials from around camp to create warmth — and a place to gather for s’mores.

She is also learning that different animals come out at night. She loves listening for their calls and laughs with delight when she identifies an owl in the dark.

Watching my daughter fall in love with her natural surroundings is one of the greatest joys of living in an RV. It brings peace to my heart to see her so happy from simply being in nature.

RVing brings your family closer together.

As a full-time RVer, I can testify that nothing will bring your family closer than RVing. Some reasons are more obvious than others.

rv family in front of vehicle with girl and dog

  • You’re in a smaller space so you are literally closer together: Being together in this small space can be challenging, but it also brings you closer. You notice when someone else isn’t happy pretty quickly, and you work together to solve the issue.
  • You have to make a lot of decisions: Making decisions as a family is something you get better at with practice. Consider your RV trip a crash course!
  • You learn to work together: When you hit the road in an RV, the way a family functions can change. Suddenly, responsibilities outside of the RV do not matter as much. You’re in a small space, making decisions and working as a team.
  • RVing takes you out of your comfort zone.

    RVing is fun, but it doesn’t come without its challenges.

    A rig can be hard to maneuver through traffic. Electricity isn’t unlimited (say goodbye to running a hair dryer, PlayStation and microwave all at once). Bugs consider themselves welcomed guests. Learning the sewage system can be tricky, to say the least. Kids may be bored for the first day or two of camping.

    mother and daughter play on playground slide

    But if you’re like me, you think of that type of stuff as “healthy stress.” You know, the kind of stress that allows a person to grow.

    And that’s important when you have kids.

    When you take your kids RVing, you are opening them up to a world of new experiences. Sure, they may be bored for a bit without their electronics, but this allows them the opportunity to get creative, learn new things — and both succeed and fail.

    Living in an RV full-time has given my daughter so many experiences she might otherwise not have had — like building a bonfire or making friends at the park with such ease. She is so young but I see so much curiosity, tenacity and determination in her already.

    I’ve also grown tremendously as a parent. Not only do we spend more time outside than on the couch, but my daughter and I spend more time having fun together than I ever could have dreamed.

    RVing teaches children to value experiences, not stuff.

    In a world of fast fashion and Facebook ads, it can be hard to grab your kids’ attention. Honestly, how can you be expected to compete with hoverboards and smartphones?

    child goat petting zoo

    But you want to compete. You know there is more to life than gadgets and you want your children to know this truth as well. Nothing teaches children about the value of new experiences better than a road trip!

    You’ll traverse miles of open road, make fascinating acquaintances and discover new places as a family. These experiences are priceless and someday, they’ll be cherished memories.

    For instance, every summer my mom drove the family out to Montana to visit our grandmother. We would camp in the mountains, meet new friends and try all sorts of food.

    Did we buy souvenirs on these trips? Sure.

    Do I still have them? No way.

    Instead, I have held onto the amazing experiences that grew me as a person. I have memories of laughing and loving and fighting with my family, all at the same time. These memories hold so much more value to me than the souvenirs I lost long ago.

    Your kids will only be kids for so long.

    It’s a simple but sad truth for us parents. Kids grow up. Parents are only cool for so long.

    Do yourself and your children a favor. Take them RVing before they flee the coop, even if they protest at first. Trust me, they’ll thank you later.

    child in an rv

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