Wanting to go tiny but also currently evading the “so, are you having kids” conversation at Christmas dinner? The good news is, I think, you can have both a tiny house and kids.
I say this from a place of non-motherhood. I’ll be honest in admitting that I don’t fully understand the struggles and issues of raising a child, so this is all conjecture on my side. But, I think conjecture is good, and can start a valuable conversation. I’ll outline my and Kenton’s thinking, and then link to some real-life-doing-the-hard-work tiny house parents.
When folks (and grandparents) ask me if Kenton and I are going to have kids, it’s a resounding and definite: maybe. But because we weren’t sure when we started designing the house, we planned to add to the family. Here are some of the things that we did to try to create a potential spot for a third tiny house kid:
The couch: We had our couch custom built over our smaller water storage tank. Our decision to have it as a flat, regular surface was partly inspired by the idea that it could be easily turned into a crib. Just throw up some railings! It’s about the same size as a standard crib, and we have additional seating available so we wouldn’t miss it too much.
The loft: The extra loft over the bathroom (currently known as the “rec loft”), we thought, could potentially be a spot for a kiddo once they were old enough to have their own space. It’s really open right now, and not safe for kids not being closely supervised. But were we to raise a kid, we would put up some netting or railing, basically turn that bad boy into a max security child prison.
The extra storage: At the foot of that spare loft, we had a cabinet painstakingly installed by a good friend. This space, we hope, will be enough to get a good start on kid stuff. We also have left the extra storage nooks and crannies in our couch empty, so these would be good places to put away some small/soft things that babies need.
Things we would need to change: Our sleep schedules. But seriously, there would be many adjustments we would have to make before this tiny house would be baby ready. First, we would need railings. Railing everywhere. Right now, as two able bodied adults, we can move around our house pretty confidently without any hand rails on the stairs or railings along the sides of the lofts. Obviously, for a new little walker, these things are a necessity. Also, we would need curtains. Our house is set up really open to the point where you can see pretty much everywhere no matter where you are in the house. With a baby, I could see this leading to literally zero naps. Maybe -1 naps.
Here are some resources I found in a quick search for more informed parties:
Here’s a family living with three kids in 365 square feet.
A nice detailed article with a few families’ perspectives on raising kids tiny.
And a more detailed, beautifully written one year in review after having a baby in a tiny house.
This one is a cool story about a Mama with her 5 year old.
Check out this article with an interview on the kiddo’s perspective.
Having a child is clearly a huge decision and changes the lives of any new parents. There are more considerations to having a child when you’re living in a tiny house, for sure, but I am inspired by those who have done it before me and comforted by the fact that my mom has a guest room. What do you think, is it possible to have a baby in a tiny house?
(Melissa Zerbin is a totally normal person who has lived with her husband in her tiny house since 2017. She loves cats, food, and other humans, and is currently completing her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy.)