Hitting the open road in an RV is a great way for kids to experience the wonder of the world around them first hand. But road trips can lead to cranky kids and tired parents if you’re not prepared. Before you take your next trip, stock up on some of these essentials and keep in mind the tips for a more relaxing and enjoyable trip for everyone.
Before your wheels even hit the road, sit down with your children and set expectations. Will electronics be allowed? If so, when? What do you expect in terms of helping set up and take down camp? Who will be responsible for what chores? Explain campground etiquette to your children and let them know the behavior you expect from them.
Organization is key with kids wherever you are, but especially on the road. Part of setting your expectations for your kids will be to create organized spaces for them to store their own toys, books, activities, whatever it is they decide to bring and to have them put their things away when they aren’t using them. An RV can become cluttered very quickly without assigned spaces for everyone’s items.
A doormat and area to place shoes either right outside or just inside the RV will go a long way to keep a clean and organized living space. Shedding shoes and coats at the door will help keep dirt, mud and water out of the RV.
If you’re on a long RV trip, deciding how to provide each person with his or her own personal space is a good idea. Whether your teenager sets a tent up outside the RV for some alone time at night (If the campground allows it), or the pull out bed is specifically the youngest child’s and ceases to be community seating once evening rolls around, creating an area where your child can escape to recharge is essential.
For little ones and babies, a pack and play or baby gate are good ideas to make sure everyone is safe around the campfire or staying out of trouble in the RV.
If your child is old enough to pack for themselves it is a good opportunity to let them practice responsibility, but also be prepared to back them up in case they forget something. Always bring extra blankets, coats, sunscreen and necessary medications. Even a warm day can turn into a chilly night and a cold day skin-damaging sun exposure.
When it comes to entertainment, the world around them is about as good as it gets. National parks, campgrounds and public lands often have programs for kids and teens. For rainy days, make sure to have coloring books, bubbles, play-doh and board games handy. Even some days call for a movie. One of the great things about today’s RVs is the ability to combine modern conveniences with the great outdoors.
Board games create an ideal setting for family bonding and quality time together. An especially great game is Mindful Games Activity Cards: 55 Fun Ways to Share Mindfulness with Kids and Teens. This game helps kids sharpen attention skills and cultivate kindness.
On travel days, don’t be afraid to let the kids watch a movie on a tablet while buckled in. Yes, even if your Class A motorhome allows for all the comfort of a home on wheels, children should always wear a seat belt or use a car seat if the RV is in motion. There’s no shame in a few hours of PAW Patrol if it keeps your five-year old happy and safe from Point A to Point B.
For older kids, have them help you get to your next destination, without the help of Google Maps. Break out that map, (explain to your kids this relic of old if necessary) and have them read it with you to plot the best route to your destination. This is a great way for kids to learn geography and how to read a map and key.
Don’t forget the most important part of the trip with your children: Enjoying one another. Take time to let the kids be kids and marvel at the way they see the world. Lie beneath the stars together one night or enjoy a S’more, even if the marshmallow is a little burnt.