Off-Grid Living with Kids: Challenges and Solutions

Chelsea Hansler // April 16

Living off the grid has undoubtedly taught us a great deal about ourselves and the land on which we live. Add in kids and well, it's an adventure that has forced new skills and habits. Most notably, it has given us a clear path to a way of life that most have forgotten. In a world full of technology and the hustle of busy lives, it’s easy to forget the simplicities that were once prevalent. 

kids off the grid

The most gratifying experience has been watching our kids learn and develop into strong, independent, capable little humans. They have skills far beyond their years. Don’t get me wrong, we still have modern technologies such as a TV and the internet, but with limits. It has forced them to just be children. To explore nature and use their imagination. It’s so easy to get engulfed by the norm, giving children iPads as a tool to occupy them in order to catch up on that much-needed hour of rest. I've been there and the guilt that came over me was suffocating. I absolutely believe they have their place for learning but for us, it wasn’t working.

How Life Changed for My Kids Living Off the Grid

The children I see now compared to a year ago are so full of curiosity about the world around them. They see the butterfly pass by or a chipmunk at the window instead of being glued to a screen. Instead of going to technology when they are “bored,” they immediately start thinking of things they can build or play with. I have spent many days watching them from the window, giving them the independence to explore and create in the natural world around them. They have spent hours trying to catch chipmunks, frogs, and tadpoles and then they scurry out to “their creek” to work on the little cabin they are building on their own. 

{Read More: Outdoorsy Kids: 10 Ways to Get Your Kids Interested in the Outdoors}

They play hard but they also work hard practicing skills I believe are important for their future. At the cabin, there is always something that needs to be done, whether cutting and piling firewood to prepare for winter or hauling buckets of water to the hounds. We give the kids independence but also expect them to carry their weight and help when needed. The comforts that many people take for granted don’t come as easily here. Everyone is expected to do their share. They help pile wood and butcher game when the time comes to fill the freezer. Come fall, they will be expected to help harvest and preserve the bounty of the garden. They aren’t always eager but they help nonetheless. 

living with kids off the grid

I often think about what I am teaching them. It has driven me to learn new skills so that they too can pass them on someday. Hunting, gardening, preserving vegetables through canning, making food from scratch, tanning hides, the list goes on, and a list that I plan to keep adding to. 

There are so many skills I wish to learn to prepare them for anything the world throws at them. I want them to know how to be self-sufficient whether they choose to be or not.

Off-Grid Living with Kids: Challenges and Solutions

Off-grid living with kids can be a rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle. But, it also comes with its own set of challenges.

Establish a routine and structure.

One of the biggest challenges of off grid living with kids is maintaining a sense of routine and structure. Without the typical schedules and routines of modern society, it can be easy for children to become disoriented and unsettled. To combat this, it's important to establish a daily routine that includes regular meal times, designated play and learning times, and consistent bedtimes. This will help your children feel more secure and provide a sense of stability in an otherwise unpredictable environment.

Teach self-sufficiency and survival skills.

Off grid living with kids requires a certain level of self-sufficiency and survival skills. It's important to teach your children how to grow their own food, collect and purify water, and build a shelter. These skills not only provide a sense of independence and confidence, but also ensure that your family is prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise. Encourage your children to participate in these activities and make it a fun learning experience for the whole family.

Create a sense of community and socialization.

One of the biggest challenges of off grid living with kids is the lack of socialization and community. It's important to find ways to create a sense of community for your children, whether it's through homeschooling groups, local events, or even online communities. Encourage your children to make friends and build relationships with other off grid families. This not only provides socialization for your children, but it also creates a support system for you as a parent.

Plan for education and homeschooling.

When considering off grid living with kids, it's important to plan for their education and homeschooling. This can be a great opportunity to tailor their education to their individual needs and interests. Research homeschooling curriculums and resources, and consider enrolling your children in online classes or hiring a tutor for subjects you may not feel comfortable teaching. It's also important to create a designated space for learning and studying in your off grid home.

Prioritize safety and emergency preparedness.

Living off grid with kids can be an amazing adventure, but it's important to prioritize safety and emergency preparedness. Make sure your home is equipped with smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and a first aid kit. Teach your children basic safety skills, such as how to start a fire safely and how to use a compass. It's also a good idea to have a plan in place for emergencies, such as natural disasters or medical emergencies, and to practice that plan with your family.

At least I’ll know I did my part in teaching them.

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About the Author

Chelsea Hansler

Hunter, mother, wife, artist, gardener, homesteader; these are a few of the titles that best describe Chelsea. She is a wife and a mother to two beautiful 4- and 5-year-old “babies”. After serving time in the Canadian Armed Forces, she moved to a tiny home in Northern Ontario, Canada. They are surrounded by thousands of acres of crown land and closer to home you will find her abundance of chickens, a mini horse, 2 cows, and their hounds. They strive to live a simple country life, hunting, gathering, and growing their own food. Everything her family does revolves around the outdoors and living this lifestyle. Chelsea is an artist, creating one-of-a-kind pieces focused mainly on this lifestyle.