If you’ve ever found yourself watching Tiny House Nation with a trace of envy, you may be wondering if tiny house living is right for your family. Although tiny houses may seem like practical dwellings for only singles or couples, there are growing numbers of families living in tiny houses with children. Ours is one of them.
We hand built and have lived in our 350 square foot off the grid tiny house with two children, now ages 6 and 9, for four years. Living in a tiny house with kids has its pros and cons, and although there are days when I dream of a home addition, I adore living tiny most of the time!
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to decide if tiny house living might be a good fit for your family.
How To Know If Tiny House Living Is Right For Your Family
Would you love more together-time with your family?
One of the best parts of tiny house living is that the small living quarters encourages close connection, conversation, and cooperation. It is simply impossible to hide in a separate wing or corner of your house and ignore one another.
Because we need to exist in such a small space, our family has found that we forgive and forget small disagreements with greater ease, our children have an incredibly strong connection, and we spend large amounts of real quality time together.
Do you love spending time in the outdoors?
Since moving into our tiny home, we spend more time outdoors, releasing energy and playing in nature. One of our tiny house rules is that loud voices and big movements go outside, where running, building forts, and mud play are all encouraged! This practice is great for our health and well-being, and has encouraged our kids’ love of engaging with the natural world.
We are also far more likely to head outdoors for large gatherings, choosing to share a picnic meal around our outdoor pizza oven, or hosting a swim or ice-skating party.
Are you relatively neat and well-organized?
My husband and I don’t fret over dust and spider webs, but we do love a neat and well-organized home, and living tiny means that it’s even more important to keep a tidy home, as clutter can quickly overwhelm your living space.
We’ve found that the rule of “everything has a place” ensures that at the end of the day, all items go back to their resting place and we reset the house to order.
On the plus side, Because we have to keep our house neat in order to be able to move around in it, our kids have learned young the techniques and benefits of organizing and tidying. There is also much less house to clean!
Is a minimalistic lifestyle appealing to you?
Living in such a small space has encouraged downsizing. We say no to STUFF as often as possible, preferring to spend our money on experiences like traveling with our kids.
Although our lifestyle as an off-the-grid homesteading family requires many tools that don’t fit in our house (my mason jar collection alone would take up our entire pantry!), we try to minimize our purchases and make use of a beautiful outbuilding on our property.
Before going tiny, consider if this aspect of the lifestyle appeals to you. Are you willing to forgo material goods in favor of freedom and connection?
Are you a go-with-the-flow kind of person?
Living in a tiny house with kids requires an extraordinary amount of creativity, patience, flexibility, and organization. Kids are natural collectors, and love to display their collections prominently. They are also blessed with incredible energy and enthusiasm for new projects (many of which involve paper and glue!).
As a homeschooling family living in a tiny house, we don’t have a dedicated space for school projects and lessons. And as a family that also runs multiple home-based businesses, we have to get really creative about our workspace (I am known to take most of my coaching calls in the car, where I have complete privacy!)
Being flexible and patient will help you go with the flow when life gets chaotic in your tiny home!
What do your kids think about the idea?
We shifted to tiny house living when our kids were only 2 and 5, and after six months of living in a tent, our 350 square foot home felt like luxury accommodations to all!
But if you have older children, consider including them in your discussions about whether or not tiny house living is right for your family. Teens, in particular, may have a real need for personal space and privacy, and forcing them into close quarters may lead to the opposite of the kind of closeness you are seeking.
Is your partner/spouse on board?
I’m going to get real with you – it’s challenging for my husband and I to have private time together, or even private conversations. We have to steal our moments together after the kids are asleep, or have conversations in two to three sentence snippets!
And while we may need to be creative to find intimate connection, we are living together in a way that promotes our shared values – living close to nature, in community, with a close connection to our family.
Tiny house living will work best if all parties are enthusiastically on board with the idea, and you’ve thought about how you will handle some of the challenges in advance.
Once you’ve decided if tiny house living is right for you, binge watch some Tiny House Nation episodes for inspiration!
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