Last Updated on 11/21/2023 by Glynn Willard
Should you boondock with kids?
Is it safe to boondock with kids?
I have to snicker as I write those questions because that’s where we have our best experiences with our kids. I can’t think of any downsides to boondocking that are anything more than a common gripe.
Our family has embraced the boondocking spirit. Here are many of the attributes that support our rational for boondocking and fulltime RV living with kids.
9 Reasons To Boondock With Kids
Homeschooling Becomes Roadschooling
What does that have to do with boondocking?
Well, that’s easy. When you immerse yourself and your home in different geological locations, geology becomes tangible.
And not to mention, visiting historical sites has a real impact on a child’s memory. That’s generally not the case with a text book.
Free camping allows us to budget more money for museums and educational events. We’re not rich, so boondocking has a direct influence on what we can spend on educational opportunities for the kids.
Also, getting schoolwork done in the trailer when boondocking is distraction free. Any homeschooling parent can appreciate that statement.
One of our favorite things to do is boondock just outside a national park and spend a lot of time there exploring and participating in the Jusior Ranger Program.
The Ability To Speak To Strangers Becomes Second Nature
I’m sorry 80’s, but your stance on the dangers of speaking to strangers has created a socially awkward generation. Enough already.
One very important lesson I learned in business is the ability to speak fluidly and candidly with strangers is a massive asset.
When you live on the road, your kids will be forced to speak to people they don’t know over and over again. What a great opportunity to rehearse one’s social skills!
Of course, if one allows their kids to be reclusive, this can be difficult. But this is something we as parents have control over.
We frequently find ourselves boondocked near a trailhead. This makes for easy natural excursions into nature. The kids get great exercise hiking different terrain.
That’s not to say they don’t whine on occasion, but it helps strengthen them physically and teach resilience.
It also allows them to develop a deep respect for nature.
This brings me to the next point on exercise and boondocking with kids.
A Lot Of Space To Run And Play
Whenever we have to stay in a campground, the space for children is controlled and minimized.
But when we boondock with our children, then can literally be part of the natural environment.
They can run far, dig deep, get dirty and explore cool natural features. That sure sounds better than a paved or gravel space right next to your neighbor that isn’t even free.
Do you remember throwing dirt clogs as a kid? OK, maybe not the best idea, but it was so much fun watching them explode in a cloud of dust on impact! You can’t do that in an RV park.
The boys are also learning to be marksman, which is legal on some BLM land. Yes, we clean up after ourselves. And it’s an awesome bonding experience!
Power And Water Conservation Become Second Nature
Where else can you teach your kids not to waste resources so effectively. When you’re boondocking, all resources have to be stringently managed.
This has a real (positive) impact on children. Our kids take fast “Navy” showers, turn their lights off and regulate their data usage.
How many parents in a modern sticks and bricks house say that about their kids?
Resources are not unlimited and this lifestyle puts our kids ahead of the social curve in that department. Could it be good for your kids too?
Your Kids Grow Up Close To You
Maybe this is not everyone’s first choice, but I think most would prefer this circumstance.
I’ll say it upfront… No one laid on their deathbed and stated, “I wish I had spent less time with my kids.”
Yes, it can be difficult to always be in close proximity, but honestly, we haven’t had any real issues. Maybe it’s because Rose is such a kind, gentle soul that the boys have acquired that trait.
Regardless, the opportunity to spend quality time together is almost always there. Yes, if we need space, we each pick up a book, tablet or computer to engage digitally for personal time.
Meeting Up With Other Families On The Road Forges Strong Relationships
Yes, you meet more families in campgrounds, but it’s not always easy to book close together when meeting up. Boondocking offers plenty of space to meet up and camp together.
Making friends on the road is a slower process, but it does happen. And the instant common bond of fulltiming is powerful. It reminds me of how we all looked out for one another when riding motorcycles.
Social media has obviously made it easier to meet likeminded fulltime families. And we rely on it sometimes to expand our physical social network.
It doesn’t hurt that our YouTube channel has cultivated it’s own family. We’re very thankful for this!
The Wow Factor Is Renewed Over And Over
It’s easy to blow a kids mind a few times in the same place. That diminishes quickly. But when you’re constantly on the move, the frequent “wow” from your children never gets old.
Whether it’s a new hike, water fall, national park, mountain, museum, awesome piece of architecture or cool person we meet, it just keeps happening!
Am I painting a great picture yet?
Yes, There’s Screen Time
I would have loved to had Minecraft as a kid! How can we rob the boys of the great parts of the digital world just because we’re on the road?
We all need down time and the time spent on tablets is controlled, but not with an iron fist. How often do you finish a project and just want to watch a movie?
The kids are no different. And it works nicely when Rose and I have to do work on the channel and blog. It’s also nice during foul weather.