Boot Camp, and Carrie’s Challenge

The end of five days has arrived…I will share how things are now after I explain what our “battle plan” was.

I am slightly hesitant to share here because it may seem harsh without first reading the original article, so I will start first off by saying that Boot Camp is as much for Mom as it is for the children. The rules for Mom are:

  • smile
  • speak quietly (just below conversational level)
  • be consistent!

I also HIGHLY recommend getting your hands on a copy of Raising Godly Tomatoes and reading that first.

We cleared everything off of our schedule for a week, with the possibility of two weeks. I planned VERY simple meals and repeated it for week two. (Not necessarily healthy, but necessarily easy and sanity-saving).
Here is what we planned:

Breakfast and lunch were the same everyday of the week–cold cereal with milk and fruit, and ramen noodles and fruit for lunch.

Dinners were as follows, starting with Monday (because that is the day we officially started)

  • Chicken Nuggets, tater tots, corn
  • Cheeseburgers, pasta salad, green salad
  • Keilbasa, kidney beans, rice
  • Tuna melts, carrot sticks
  • Sloppy Joes, french fries
  • Frozen pizzas

Sunday we are having dinner with our neighbors.

There was no cleaning scheduled besides dishes and laundry; I didn’t want to be distracted by it so I just cut it out completely.

Then, I sat down and wrote out our schedule, divided it into blocks for morning, afternoon, and evening, put each block on a 3×5 card, hole punched them and stuck them on a binder ring. I kept this, my watch, and our, ahem, wooden spoon in my apron pocket for quick and easy access.

Here is the schedule:


  • 7 am–(I am already up by 4-5) Everyone up and get ready for the day (diapers changed, dressed, etc.)
  • 7:30–Calisthenics using “Yes Ma’am”.
  • 8–Practice STOP until
  • 8:30–I fix breakfast and they all sit on the floor in the kitchen or on the sofa. They may talk or sing, but they may NOT get up, or touch each other.
  • 9–Breakfast, cleanup, brush teeth.
  • 9:30–Play with me in the room, do not leave the room. More STOP and “yes Ma’am”.
  • 10:30–Change activities, possibly a table activity. More STOP and “yes Ma’am”.
  • 11:30–Clean up from activities, then sit again while I prepare lunch. They may talk but not get up.


  • 12:30–Lunch and cleanup, then story.
  • 1:30–Go to bed!–Baby in crib, all others (besides 13yo) on blankets on the floor of my bedroom. NO talking, giggling, or playing. They MUST lay silently with their eyes closed. 13yo works on schoolwork with me on my bed.
  • 2:30–Whomever is awake may watch a video until they are all awake.
  • 3:30–Wake up and play in my sight, or finish video; snack.
  • 4:30–More STOP and/or “yes Ma’am”.


  • 5–Back to sitting while I prepare dinner. They may talk.
  • 6–Dinner and cleanup
  • 7–Daddy takes over, I am OFF DUTY for about and hour and a half.
  • 8:30–Children to bed. Hubby hangs around upstairs to supervise(so that they don’t stay awake and play around) .
  • 9–I take over supervision if needed, then
  • RELAX (reading, etc.) until 10 or 10:30, THEN I MUST GO TO BED!

Now, this is extremely exhausting, hence the need for OFF DUTY time and strict bedtime. I made sure to get up and read my Bible before embarking on the day. And all the while, my voice is calm, and there is a smile on my face (ideally; remember, this is training for me as well!)
Also, 13yo is with us most, if not all, of this time, but is doing her own work, and assisting me since I injured myself before we started the week!

“Yes Ma’am” Training

This is what it typically was like:
With them standing in front of me, I would give directions such as “touch your toes”, “hop like a bunny”, etc. They were to answer with “yes Ma’am” and do as they were told.
Then I started on the commands,
ME: “Christian”
HIM: “Yes Ma’am”
ME: “Go and get a cup from the kitchen, and bring it to me.”
HIM: “Yes Ma’am.”
He carries out the command and goes back to his place.
ME: “Hannah”
HER: “Yes Ma’am”
ME: “Fill this cup halfway with water”
HER: “Yes Ma’am”
She fills the cup, brings it to me, and goes back to her place.
Then I will instruct another one to pour the water on the floor, another to get a towel, and another to wipe it up. The only acceptable answer is “yes Ma’am”. They may not argue, or complain, or have a bad attitude, or else they are rewarded with swats.
I also give commands such as “go and get your sister/self, etc. an M&M”, or put a shoe on your head, etc. They actually find this fun!

STOP Training

For this, I let them go one at a time to pick one toy and come back. Then I just let them play. They must stay on the rug. Once they are engaged in what they are doing, I say STOP. I do not yell stop; I use a conversational tone. They are to immediately put down on the floor what they have in their hands and look at me. Then I tell them they may continue with what they were doing. It’s as simple as that. I sit in the room with them and watch or read, and continue to practice STOP.

And throughout the day, I will just call out one of their names and they are to answer correctly, and possibly carry out something I have told them to do; or I will say STOP. This is practice at random; they don’t know when to expect it exactly. This is so they will know it applies all the time, not just when we are training.

I wish I could take credit for these ideas, but I cannot and I do not have access to the site from where I got the idea or I would point you in her direction–she had many great ideas!

Now, for how it has gone this week, I would say that it did not take as much work as I had anticipated. Once we started, I realized that these were things I had been doing already but that we just needed to buckle down and really focus on it. It made me realize how grateful I should be that my children really are generally well-behaved, not including the normal childhood foolishness! By day 3 I was able to give them a little more freedom, and by today even more. But I am going to stay on course for this second week, and continually loosen the reigns. I will probably add in some school work in the schedule somewhere; only a little though so that our focus doesn’t shift. We are training for their character right now and school must take a backseat. I also plan to add in some training for specific “pet peeves” of mine. Two examples are their messy rooms, and not coming to the table to eat when called the first time.

In addition I felt I should take on Carrie’s Challenge to not raise our voices at our children, since this is the perfect opportunity to train myself in this. And unfortunately, of course, I did raise my voice today because I raised my expectations too soon. I decided to have them clean their rooms, which is a pet peeve that I plan on working on specifically during this training time, but I handled it in the wrong way. Remember, I said no cleaning! And I focused more on what I wanted the rooms to look like instead of the training process and lost my cool. So I had to apologize and abandon the mission altogether until we can come back to it in the right mindset.

I hope maybe some others can give me some ideas on other specific training situations that would work here. I am forever gleaning knowledge from others!

So that’s Boot Camp. I hope you enjoyed reading!
God bless!