RV'ing with young children

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scottydl

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Jul 1, 2006
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Land of Lincoln
My wife and I have two boys, currently 5 and 20 months.  Even if we don't buy a MH and start camping until next year when they are 6 and 2, they will still be young.  Can anyone share their experiences RV'ing with their small children?  Do they stay occupied?  Is it a total nightmare?  Or better than driving and staying in hotels?  In our case, our 5yo has autism and doesn't adjust well to hotels and other strange places when travelling.  Our hope is that a MH would become a familiar "home away from home" and be comforting (both for him and thusly us) when we head out.  Thoughts?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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At our Silver Springs FL home
We work in campgrounds most every summer and see literally hundreds of families traveling with children. Most, of course, are vacationing, but we occasionally meet a younger full timer or snow bird with children. Generally the children seem to keep themselves occupied when there are multiple kds in the family or the campground has other children. Kids are quick to find and make friends if you let them.  It's tough, though, when there are no other kids around or there is a wide difference in the kids ages within the family.  And a lot depends on the family itself - whether they act as a family or just a group of individuals who happen to live together. 

Moving around a lot with school age children can be rough on them socially.  You can home school, of course, but the kids miss one of their major life experiences - a school where there are other people, people who are not like them, who have different opinions and attitudes and ideas. 

 

blueblood

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Mar 16, 2005
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scottydl said:
My wife and I have two boys, currently 5 and 20 months.? Even if we don't buy a MH and start camping until next year when they are 6 and 2, they will still be young.? Can anyone share their experiences RV'ing with their small children?? Do they stay occupied?? Is it a total nightmare?? Or better than driving and staying in hotels?? In our case, our 5yo has autism and doesn't adjust well to hotels and other strange places when travelling.? Our hope is that a MH would become a familiar "home away from home" and be comforting (both for him and thusly us) when we head out.? Thoughts?

At the start of the Iraq war, my daughter in law, an Army Reserve Major, was called up and my son who is a civilian, but whose work is tied to Air Force bases and DSA could not take care of their children ages 2 and 3. We took them in our MH and it was an enjoyable but tiring experience for us who are in our 70's. We did not alter our basic schedule of attending rallies and just camping. The folks at rallies were very supportive and really enjoyed having them around often taking them on excursions or simply playing with them. At campgrounds, we found the usual amenities like swimming pools and playgrounds kept them busy and we had their bikes with us which worked as well. We found the usual children CD's that they could watch and enjoy both while camped and on the road on a portable player. We did monitor carefully who they played with in campgrounds to ensure they were not being pulled into negative activities, etc.  We found in certain cities locally run by city or county children day time programs. These gave us a couple of hours of break time while they enjoyed the time being with other kids and the planned activities that the staff provided. The costs were very low. I think any concerns about home school children being not exposed to others is a non issue. Our experience was that a wide range of diversity was all ways present.

PS We are traveling this summer with a 13 and 14 year old - about same level of enjoyment and tiredness <VBG>
 

Gasser

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Joined
Feb 21, 2006
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173
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Ada, Oklahoma
We just bought a coach and camp with our 5 year old and our 3 year old.? When we picked up the coach at the dealer my kids went crazy.? they insisted they ride in it to dinner so we drove it out to a burger joint.? I can't keep them out of it.

Our first camping trip was just a trial run at a nice KOA in Oklahoma.? Not much to do there but walk around, play on a play ground and cook out.? The kids had a ball.? The first night was kind of rough as it was like a giant slumber party.? They are both use to having their own room so sleeping in the same room together was fun for them.
? ? ?On a cautionary note, that first night also brought up another problem.? All the A/C and heater controlls along with all the cooking appliances, gas stove etc.. is in the living area where the kids sleep or should I say get into mistchive.? I woke up at 2am to a coach that was over 95 degrees.? Turns out my 3 year old figured out how to turn off the A/C and turn on the floor furnice.? I walk into the living room and they were both still awake, bright red cheeks and sweating like dogs.? My 5 year old promply pointed at her sister and said she did it.....One little scolding and a quick removal of the knobs from the stove, A/C back on and then back to bed.? All went well.? ?We have a pull out couch sleeper sofa and also a jack knife couch bed so we open out both and set them up for the two of them at night.? The second night was much better as they were worn out from the days playing and they crashed.? There was no jacking with any buttons and they generally leave things alone now but I still take the knobs off the gas range so they cant fill the coach with raw propane. :eek:?
Our second trip was to the lake and they kids were a dream.? Wore them out on the lake and they slept like babies.

We are leaving on a week trip to Branson next week so we will see how they do for a longer trip.?

I think you will love camping with your kids and you will be building memories that will last their whole life.? I still remember the two or three camping trips my dad took me on.? I wish we would have done it more.? I will with my kids for sure.

Good luck camping with the kids.? I also bet your Autistic child will do better in their own bed you take with them.? I have a brother that is MR from a child hood brain tumor and routine and schedule is very important.? Keeping things familiar is comfort.? I think the RV will be a little challenge at first but after a few trips you will love your home away from home.

Jeff

P.S.  I know dogs don't sweat! ;)
 

Shayne

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Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
We've been RVing Since the 60's and always took the kids later the grandkids.  Wife use to play games with them, later once we got VCR's they watched the movies, later is was DVDs.  Now it's computer games and what have you.  Enjoy them, and enjoy the RV.
 

scottydl

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Land of Lincoln
Gasser said:
Good luck camping with the kids.  I also bet your Autistic child will do better in their own bed you take with them.  I have a brother that is MR from a child hood brain tumor and routine and schedule is very important.  Keeping things familiar is comfort.  I think the RV will be a little challenge at first but after a few trips you will love your home away from home.

"Routine and schedule", you hit that nail on the head Jeff.  ;D  Thanks for all your detailed responses, they have certainly given me some hope.  I only have fond memories of camping with my grandparents when I was a child, but somehow from my parental perspective now it seems like it would be tough.  :-\  I'm sure there's an adjustment period just like anything, but we really do want to start taking trips & doing things that the kids will always remember.
 

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