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Have you ever wondered if there is a way to help your child understand when their behavior is out of control? There is!

The Alert Program for Self-Regulation was developed by Mary Sue Williams and Sherry Shellenberger as a simple way to equip children, caregivers, and teachers with words and strategies to help children stay calm and regulated. The Alert Program is most often referred to as "How Does Your Engine Run?" and I love how simple the concepts are.

You can manage meltdowns with one question.

That one question is as simple as: "How is Your Engine Running?"

Your 'engine' (body) has 3 levels: low, just right, and high....just like a car's engine would run!

Here's how your child's engine might look on different levels....

We need our engines to run just right during times when we need to be calm and focused. The Alert Program teaches children how to choose activities to change their engine level to help them reach the 'just right' state.

Check out this video to help you understand how to introduce The Alert Program, a little about sensory processing, and where to find more information.

You'll have to ignore the poor quality....apparently it's time to upgrade my camera! Sorry, friends!

Here are a few examples of engine meters to check out:

I love how easily a child can move their bead on this one! Typically, I try to avoid changing the words from high to "too fast" or low to "too slow". It adds a negative connotation to the engine speeds and some children will avoid having engine levels on anything BUT just right.

This example is made from a paper plate. No need to be fancy! It's a cheap and fast way to have the child be involved with making their own engine meter. As I talked about in the video, I try to be consistent with colors.

Red= high

Green= just right

Yellow= low

There are 5 categories of ways to change how your engine is running.






These are based on the sensory systems within the body and how they impact our arousal levels.

When your kiddo is first starting out, they may need help figuring out their engine level and then choosing the right activity to help them move to a just right place.

Alisha, over at Your Kids Table, has a list of 100+ awesome and easy sensory ideas you can use. Go check it out!

Always remember, make it fun!!!

If you want a few printables that might help you, click on the picture below! You'll find resources you can download to use! You can also fine more information about the Alert Program here.


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