RVing with Toddlers: Must Haves
When we set out to RV fulltime with a two and three year old, we knew it would come with its challenges. Let’s face it, living with two toddlers anywhere comes with challenges! The kids were used to having separate bedrooms, 2,400 square feet to run around and play in, three bathrooms to choose from, and our youngest was still sleeping in a crib. RV life was going to present a lot of changes in their short little lives.
Well, I’m delighted to say that the kids have adjusted to RV life better than I could’ve ever imagined. In less than a year, we can hardly remember what raising two tiny humans not in a camper looks like. While we’d like to think excellent parenting is the sole contributor to making RVing with toddlers an enjoyable experience, we’ve actually had some help from a few must have items. There are a handful of things that have been part of our lives on a daily basis these past eight months that have made this new lifestyle as wonderful as it’s been. Here are our must have items for RVing with toddlers.
There are about 1,349,305,000 models and layouts of RVs to choose from. For several reasons (that I can get into in another post), we wanted a fifth wheel for our tiny home on wheels. We looked at many options with various floorplans. We finally settled on our Crossroads Cruiser for one very important reason. The mid bunk room. Yes, the fact that the bunk room was in the middle of the RV was important to us as it allowed for a large window at the rear of the rig, but more importantly, was the fact that the bunks were in a separate room. They were not in the living area or in any way connected to our master bedroom. It was a room. With a door.
We have found that an actual bunkroom is must have #1 for living in an RV with toddlers. It gives them a dedicated place for afternoon naps, and when going to sleep before we parents are ready to hit the hay. We looked at a few campers that had bunks off to the side of the living area or in the same room as the master bed, and that just wasn’t going to fly for us. It would basically mean we’d be napping in the middle of the day with our daughter and going to bed at 7:30 pm with both kids. They need their privacy when it’s time to sleep, and so do we. The bunk room has been a huge help in keeping our little campers well rested.
Let’s talk some more about sleep, because, it’s SO important for toddlers and keeping everyone happy and sane.
Both kids slept with a box fan running since the day they came home from the hospital. The white noise has soothed them to sleep their entire lives! Obviously, putting a huge box fan in their small bunk room wasn’t an option, so we needed to think of something else. After a lot of research, we finally found a replacement for the box fan — a sound machine.
A sound machine is a must have when RVing with toddlers not only because it helps with sleep, but it blocks out noises in and around the camper. The sound machine allows us to be in the living area while a child is napping in the afternoon or while we watch a movie after the kids go to bed. Life in and around the RV would have to stop when the kids went to bed if it weren’t for the sound machine. We ended up getting the Douni Sleep Sound Machine and are very happy with it. It has several settings, but we generally use the white noise setting that sounds very much like a fan. The volume can go high enough to block out any noise, including the TV that shares a wall with the bunk room. We’ve tried a ton of sound machines and have not been happy with one until now!
Bath time has always been a big deal around here. The kids absolutely love playing in the bath and will stay in until the water has turned frigged, and their tiny fingers have pruned up beyond recognition. We’ve tried showers here and there, but neither kid was that into it. When we decided to fulltime RV we knew that if we ever wanted the kids to be clean again, a bathtub was a must.
While some RVs do come will little bathtubs, ours didn’t. We got the mid bunk room, we couldn’t possibly get everything we wanted in one rig, right?!? While we did do quite a bit of renovation work to the RV, ripping out the shower and installing a tub was more than we were looking to do. Well, we got creative and decided to get an inflatable baby swimming pool and use it as a bathtub! It fits in the shower perfectly and gives the kids a nice, deep bath to play in and get clean. So, no matter how you have to go about it, a bathtub is a must when RVing with toddlers!
Our RV is roughly 300 square feet. When you take up space with pesky things like a toilet, beds, and kitchen, you get very little room for playing. Well, if you have toddlers, you know they spend the majority of their time playing. To get the most play space possible, we decided to use the outdoors whenever we can. Spending time outside is the reason we chose to live this lifestyle in the first place, right?
To double the square footage of your living space, aka your playroom, a large outdoor mat is a must when living the RV life with toddlers. We found the biggest RV patio mat we could find, and it adds roughly 160 additional square feet to our home! The outdoor mat acts as a playroom, living room, schoolroom, wrestling ring, and anything else we can think of using it for. I even use it as space to fold laundry! It is easy to keep clean, durable, and folds up small enough to fit in the basement when traveling.
Foldable bike trailer
This is a necessity I didn’t even know existed before living this lifestyle and now I can’t imagine what we’d do without it. Back home, we had a bike trailer for the kids. We are big bikers and would use it to tote the kids around town, take our son to and from preschool, and to ride on wide bike trails in the mountains. We reluctantly sold the bike trailer when transitioning into a tiny home as there was nowhere for it to fit.
Fast forward three months on the road to when our friends and fellow fulltime RV family graciously gave us their foldable bike trailer they no longer used. At the time we were in shock such a thing existed, and now we use the trailer on an almost daily basis! We will bike with the kids around towns we are visiting, we will bike to the playground at our campground, we will even use the bike trailer to get the laundry to and from the laundry room. It has so many uses! Come travel day, the bike trailer folds up nicely and fits perfectly in the basement. Having the option to ride bikes more, now that we are able to tow the kids along, has been ideal when exploring new places and living this nomadic lifestyle. Definitely, a must when RVing with toddlers!
Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and have the right tools to get the job done. Fulltime RVing with our kids is something we wanted to do with them before they were even born, and I’m beyond happy we leaped and made it happen. With a little patience, a whole lot of love, and some very handy must have items, we’ve enjoyed every minute of living the RV life dream with our toddlers!