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OPPOSITE PAGE The Schannep family and inside their converted school bus THIS PAGE The Rosene family in their self converted Sprinter Van

Everyone picks up on that vibe because you can’t just walk into another room to have time apart.” There’s no hiding at a job for most of the day. Or sleeping over at a friend’s house. Or even just going to the gym. Families have to be aware when someone needs to be left alone or if the issue should be confronted head-on. The lack of space becomes a forcing function for both parents and kids alike to master one of the most important tools, not only in relationships, but in life; communication.

“Something that was very helpful we learned early on was being able to identify your stress almost immediately and being able to put words to it instead of letting it fester,” Schannep said. “We want to give our kids words for why they are feeling bad.”

PLAYTIME Of course, it’s not just people that take up space in 80 sq. ft. Each item or object in a van full of children and adults needs to serve an exact purpose. The important things need to be easily accessible, and everything should do double duty. But the lack of space means only one thing to a kid, fewer toys. “Our daughter learned a lot when we had our garage sale and she saw her toys being sold,” Lexi Rosene, mother of a four-year-old girl and two-year-old boy living in a 2017 Mercedes Sprinter Van said. “She did have a hard time letting that stuff go. But once she gets outside, she is more interested in the seashells anyway.” While other kids might have drawers full of clothes, playsets and boxes full of toys, van children are different. The Schannep children have one drawer for clothes and one for shoes.

“The children have only a small cubby for their toys. But when the van is parked, the entire world is their backyard”

The Rosene children have only a 12-inch by 14-inch cubby for their toys. But when the van is parked, the entire world is their backyard.

But to these families, the sacrifices in space are worth it for the time together, the ability to slow down and perspective to reflect.

SHARING LIFE “I think there is this weird idea that the family has to be broken up,” Schannep said. “Kids go off to school, Dad goes off to work, Mom twiddles her thumbs at home or goes off to work too. But I was wondering what it would look like if we actually did life together. I had this beautiful picture of moving together and living life as a family. I was greedy for more time together.”

In a van, a family is together 24/7. Some parents may see that as a challenge, but after a few years on the road, it has become not the norm. “Other families have reached the point where they say they need their kids to be out of the house five days a week,” Dan Lin, father of three children between six and 11 living in a 4x4 sprinter van in Europe said. “They see us together all the time and >

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019 www.thegreenparent.co.uk

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