The picture has been painted. Two young adults, giddy with affection. They snuggle on the IKEA FÄRLÖV, he with perfectly mussed hair, her with steaming chai in hand. The light comes in the window creating the perfect Clarendon filter and all is right in the world. But where are the youngins? Where are the rug rats? Where are the kids in the picture? Does the modern tiny house movement not have room for children? Let’s first talk about why people claim to downsize into a tiny house and how that plays into child rearing.
While no formal studies exist, it seems the majority of articles that focus on the modern tiny house movement cite finances and a burgeoning housing crisis in America as the primary reasons for wanting to try it tiny. But often those who express those reasons are largely single, unmarried, and in some form of pre-existing debt, be it college, credit cards, etc. What isn’t covered though is where are the youngins? Where are the rug rats? Where are the kids in the picture?
For a child born in 2013 until they reach the age of 18, the bottom line for middle-income families is $245,340, not including projected inflation according to the USDA. Straight Talk: it takes a project 245 bones to raise a kid until they are old enough to jump ship! 30% of that (or $73,500) is housing. HOUSING! That number includes all the bills you pay to keep and power your home like mortgage or rent, heating and cooling, water, etc. Appliance purchase and maintenance, as well as furniture, fall under that header too. In short, the larger the home, the more expensive it is to raise a child. The smaller the home, the less expensive it is. So some may argue that raising a kid can be expensive no matter what. But raising a child in a smaller home can be less expensive. But do we really have children based on GDP?
In a 2014 article Kim Kasl – a tiny house parent of two children – noted, “Everyone wants to know if they should really do it. They want to build a tiny house but they hesitate because of the kids. Most people expect that kids will have a hard time transitioning into a tiny house.” Kasl admits she often surprises people by explaining how much her kids enjoy living in their tiny house. “They love everything that has to do with our new lifestyle.” 1
Little kids adapt to lots of things though. They are easily distracted and can be entertained by almost nothing. What about teens though? In the same article Andrew Morrison – a tiny house designer, builder, author, and parent of two teens in a tiny house – said, “Living tiny requires people in the home to communicate and not run away from difficulties,” explained Morrison. “That’s not to say we don’t still have family clashes from time to time. It just means that when that happens we have a framework to move through it.” Sounds eerily familiar to raising a teen in a large house.
Tiny house parents like Macy Miller and her husband James built their tiny house without having to borrow money. In several interviews, she remarked, “We live in a time where we’re repeatedly told that babies need a lot of stuff. But in reality, things like rockers, high chairs and pack n’ plays are convenience items that while makes parenting easier, slow down a baby’s development.” Macy and James found that not having to work as much as most Americans to satisfy a mortgage and all that comes with it allowed them to spend more time with their children and as a family unit. They are hands-on parents that are currently traveling the United States with their children, teaching them by experience, along the way!
It would be naive to say that raising children in a tiny house is easy. Heck. It would be naive to say that raising children is easy. But the heart of the issue is that raising children is an experience like no other. Living in a tiny house is an experience like no other. So while you’re experiencing new things, why not try it tiny?
Do you raise children in a tiny house? Would you be willing to try it? Have you seen a tiny house that you think would fit your family? See the house you can try it in by visiting our Facebook page or our Instagram feed.