While living a downsized life is important, the safety of your family must come first. It not only has to be safe for your children to live this lifestyle, but it also has to be legal.
Is it legal to live in an RV with kids?
There is no law that states that you cannot live with your kids in an RV. But you will need to make plans for education and you will also need to have a plan for doctor visits. Online programs and consultations are viable options here for Families on the go.
However, there are certain rules that you will have to follow.
These guidelines are set in place to not only protect the children but to protect you as well. So, what are the best ways to keep your kids safe while living in an RV?
Here is everything you need to know in order to comply with the law.
Education Comes First
The number one thing to keep in mind when living full time in an RV is what kind of education your children will get.
Most states require that children have regular school programming up to at least age 16.
This means that you will have to plan ahead for your child’s education for years to come.
However, there are more than one ways that your child can get an amazing education on the road. The best part about having options is that you can customize your child’s schooling. This is very important when living on the road because it is a unique way of life. Here are the best ways to keep your child’s education first while living in an RV.
Public School Issues
The most common way to make sure your child gets an education is to enroll them in the public school system. While there are many concerns surrounding public schools, there is one major benefit. Since public schools are government funded, they are free to residents.
But, there are restrictions when it comes to who can enroll. The biggest thing to keep in mind is the location. All public schools require that your address is within the school district limits. This can pose a challenge for some families living in an RV.
There will also be strict rules regarding absences from school.
Most schools only allow a child to miss no more than three weeks of school. While it is possible to switch schools mid-term, it is a pretty laborious process. You will not only need to make sure that you have school records but, you will also have to have a primary doctor for your child.
Homeschooling On The Road
Another option that many parents use when living in an RV is homeschooling.
Homeschooling is where one, or both, of the parents, choose to teach their child from home. The best part about homeschooling is that you don’t have to be a certified teacher in order to school your children.
Most homeschooling programs are also government funded which means that you will be sent materials at the start of each term. However, you have to make sure to file a request in order to homeschool your child. You will also be required to keep progress reports are well as records of grades.
This information will have to be turned in at the end of the term to ensure your child is getting a proper education.
Homeschooling is a great option because it allows you the freedom to live your life as you want to. Having the freedom to travel as needed is priceless. However, it does come at a cost. Since the child will not be going to public school, socialization can be a challenge. If you are looking into homeschooling as an option, make sure to find other ways to socialize the child.
Online Schooling Is An Option Too!
Do you feel like you are not ready to school your child on your own but still want to travel? Another option you have is online schooling. This is a more intensive program that works with nationally credited teachers to educate your child.
Your child will be required to take part in daily online lessons as well as tests.
This is one of the more popular options for families living in an RV. However, it isn’t always an option for everyone. This route requires that you have a reliable connection to the internet.
This isn’t always possible when living life on the road. But, if you can swing it, it is a great way to ensure an excellent education without sacrifice.
Children Need Stability
Nothing is certain in life. This is especially true when it comes to children. However, this is one thing that is for sure when it comes to kids. They need a stable life. Can children have stability while living on the road?
There are plenty of ways to ensure that your children will always have a sense of comfort.
Stability is much more than just having a place to sleep at the end of the night. They need to have certain things in place that they can always rely on. This will help them with confidence, social skills as well as help them learn how to cope. So, what are some ways that you can ensure your children have stability? Here is what we know!
Primary Care For Kids On The Road
All children need to have an annual visit to their doctor.
This way the doctor can chart their growth and progress as well as keep them up to date on shots. While it is possible to switch primary care doctors multiple times, consistency is key.
So, what do you do if you travel for the majority of the year?
Try to schedule annual visits with the same doctor each year. You can easily do this by planning your trips around this appointment.
Another option you have is to find a doctor that uses other services.
Many offices these days are promoting “online doctors”. This service allows you to do a video chat with your doctor to discuss concerns as sudden problems. This is a great option for traveling families because all you will need is an internet connection.
Social Skills Might Need Some Though (And Planning)
One of the most important things to your child’s development is social skills.
This can sometimes be lacking in children who spend most of the year traveling in an RV. This is because it is harder to keep steady friends when you don’t know where you will be living next.
One great way to keep your child social is to have them join a pen pal program. There are programs all over the world that connect children through the art of writing.
This way they can always connect with someone their age and learn something about another culture in the process.
Another great resource to help keep your child social is to keep an eye on local “mommy & me” message boards. There you can see upcoming events and gatherings in your area.
No matter where your RV is parked for the week, chances are there is a meet-up happening close to you!
Children Need Space To Grow
The last concern that people have when living in an RV is if their children have enough space. One way to ensure that your child will have space is to make sure your RV is built for it! RVs come in all different sizes. So make sure you find one that can accommodate your child’s growth.
One thing to keep in mind is that it isn’t only the size of the RV that can hinder your child. Space means much more than just the living area. Here are some ways to give your child space and comfort they need while living on the road:
Fresh Air (CHECK!)
One thing that living in an Rv gives you is a ton of fresh air.
Whether you are traveling to explore the mountains or looking for the best beach, the world is your backyard. However, it is important to keep little things that your child may need in mind.
Public parks and play areas are a great way to get your child moving while you’re not out sightseeing. Not only can they stretch their legs and get some exercise, but they might also make a friend or two! This way you are allowing your child to grow while also helping them build social skills.
Camping Means New Friends
Living a unique lifestyle doesn’t mean that your child can’t enjoy common childhood milestones.
Away camps are a great option for families traveling in RVs. When you spend the majority of the year traveling as a family, it is easy to get on each other’s nerves.
Away camps are a great option for parents looking to find a little alone time. One thing to keep in mind is that away camps do come with a high price tag.
However, since you will be saving money on traditional rent, it is a cost worth spending. Not only will your child learn fun new skills, but they will also make some great friends.
Another option you have for your family is to choose to only live in an RV part-time. Some states require that a child holds a permanent residence for a short time. This can mess up any travel schedule.
To ensure that you are keeping your child’s living arrangments legal, try living only part-time in your RV.
This way your child can still go to traditional schools and enjoy all of the social benefits from interacting with children their age. You can easily save the adventure seeking for the summertime! This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to find a different home.
It means that you should consider keeping your RV parked at the same location for most of the year.
It is important to stay legal when living a downsized life. This way you can live comfortably without worrying about getting in trouble. However, when you have a child, the rules are slightly different. Keeping to a plan throughout the year is key to keeping your child on track.
Among the important things your child needs, the most important is education. Find a plan that works best for your family and your lifestyle and make sure your child has top priority.
A happy child is a happy home. So, get out there and explore the world, your child will love it. Take care.
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Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.