When we started on the road two summers ago, we knew that we had to make room in our fifth wheel for our girls. We had owned it for a couple years before going full time, and knew that when we lived in it every day, we would need to make some adjustments. An uncomfortable fold out sofa bed was okay for vacations, but it wasn't going to cut it for our new lifestyle.
We started by removing the two recliners in the large slide and replaced them with bunk beds. Each daughter had their own space and this worked out perfectly. There was room for their special things tucked away in a corner: daughter 1 had a pink lamp that she wanted to hang from her bunk and daughter 2 had a special windchime she wanted to keep. They each had their quiet time, especially when they hung a sheet tucked under the mattress or tacked to the ceiling for privacy.
This second year, we made more changes; only to an older motorhome instead. I took more liberties with this RV and made it more like home. I wanted the girls to feel really comfortable - we were going from three slides to none and they were getting ready to have to make some big changes. There was no room for bunkbeds so we had to reevaluate and improvise. My husband and I decided to give the back bedroom to our girls and we would sleep on an IKEA sofa bed in the living area. We wanted them to be able to retain a space they could call their own and we wanted to retain access to the kitchen at night. They now share a bed, but were able to paint, buy pillows and make curtains for their new room. This made the transition easier since they were part of the decorating process.
Another way we are able to accomodate the girls is by stretching our closet space and using our tub for clothes. I installed a bar and daughter 1 uses it as her closet now. Previously, she shared a cabinet with her sister and the space was overrun with unruly clothes. She is a teenager now, too, and her clothes are larger. The shower option is a win-win for all. I don't hear any more fighting and daughter 1 thinks I'm the bomb. Winning combination!
I would eventually like to take the queen mattress out and give them their own twin, but being that our fresh water tank is under their bed inside, means even more modifications... a little thing called our converter and panel box is wired under the bed and is incorporated into the bed frame. Little thing, big pain. Electric and water don't mix too well, so I'm thinking I'll have to get a petition endorsed by OSHA for hubby to even consider it...
For anyone thinking about going full-time, I would definitely recommend a personalized space for your kids. They will most likely have to compromise on some things, but a personal space, be it however large or small, will make a big difference to them in the long run. A space of their own might mean: a box of special things that no one else can touch, a small desk area that belongs only to them, or a bit of space in a cabinet for them to keep some things besides their clothes. Keeping it simple keeps it uncluttered.
Living on the road with kids can definitely be done! If you want to read about more families who have made an RV a home, join us over at http:// www.familiesontheroad.com/carnival.html#4 for this month's blog carnival to learn more.