Let me start by saying that this advice is aimed at caretakers who intend to maintain a long-term relationship with their little or littlefur. This is not a guide to playing a character in a story.
Caretakers and their prospective littles should be well aware of each other's real age before they start any sort of role play, as big differences in age can lead to a kind of culture shock. Additionally given the multiplicity of issues that can arise out of potentially sexual behavior, adults (18+) should only do ABDL RP with other adults. Minors who do it with other minors should be roughly the same age and would be well-advised to avoid sexual behavior of any kind prior to becoming an adult. Generally speaking it is safer for minors to postpone any private RP until they are adults (18).
Limits and Boundaries
When you first become a caretaker, it is important to find out where your little's limits are, where you stand, what you can and can't do, and where you can push things occasionally. As the caretaker, you generally drive the roleplay, but within the boundaries you have worked out with your little. You should discuss what you and your little like dislike and would like to try. Things to consider:
Real Life or Online
This isn't so much a decision as a question of practicality. Most people reading this article are likely to live some distance from their caretaker/little, and are not going to be able to indulge in person as often as they might like. Therefore, I have geared most of the article towards online play, but there will be many things that work in real life as well. Conversely, being at a distance doesn't necessarily stop you from doing real life activities in character. Real life punishments or rewards for actions in online roleplay can be just as interesting as for actions in the real world. Remember, though, that this isn't necessarily going to be true for all littles; some will want to keep online and real life separate.
The first thing you need to consider when engaging in online roleplay is how much time you want to be spending with your little and how you're going to spend it. As with any online activity, you have to balance roleplay out with both your offline life and your little's. It might be that only one weekend or evening a month is good for you both, or you might be able to accommodate multiple evenings a week.
Regardless of how little or often you are both able to roleplay, it is best to establish a routine. Don't be tempted to rush through a whole list of ideas as quick as you can. Take it slowly, plan your activities carefully, and take the time to savor the experience. At the end of it always remember to make sure, before you abandon your little while they're regressed, that you check they're back in adult mode and it's ok to leave.
Never be afraid to pause a roleplay. Just ask, "Can we pick this up next time?", and when you do start again, quote the last proper bit of the roleplay, with a small recap. Then just continue where you left off.
Public or Private
Between you and your little you're going to have to decide how appropriate it would be to keep the relationship strictly private or if you're comfortable roleplaying in public spaces which allow it. This varies from putting it in signatures to roleplaying in some posts on the boards or in the IRC to caretakers following everything they do and looking out for them in discussions to keeping it entirely hidden. Different littles will have wildly different comfort levels with and expectations surrounding this, so this discussion is a must.
Diapers, Pull-Ups, Panties, and Potty Training
Your little is likely to have established their roleplay persona long before you met them. Some might see themselves as young enough to wear diapers, others may see themselves in the midst of potty training, and some may regard themselves as old enough to wear regular underwear. However they regard themselves, this aspect of their persona is their choice, not yours, and you will have to accept what they tell you.
That said, this is one of the things that can usually be pushed at and with which you can experiment. Your little might want a chance to grow up a bit, or would like to be thrown into regression a bit more. Don't be afraid to offer these things as options, just be prepared for rejection.
Wetting, Messing, And Changing Time
You and your little need to know how far to go, and what you each don't like. Your little might not like to think about sitting in a wet or messy diaper for a long period of time, so they might want to be in control of when they use the them, and then demand to be changed shortly after. Others might want to feel helpless, and so want to be told when they're wet, and like to wait to be changed.
All I can recommend is that you both try to find a comfortable equilibrium between what you each desire. It's likely your little will want to wet, but messing might be off the table for them. Conversely, they might want to mess a lot, and you might not particularly like to think about cleaning them up. Try to find common ground. If you and your little differ on messing, why not occasionally just ask if they need a change, rather than whether they're wet? That way, you can assume your little is only wet, while leaving it ambiguous enough for them to fill in the details with their imagination.
As the caretaker, you might find that you'd like to vary the amount of changing that you are doing, but without having to ask for that change, and risk being rejected. If you're looking for more, you can simply increase the frequency with which you ask them whether they need a change. They can still remain in control, and say no to each inquiry, but it will let them know that you are looking to give them that sort of intimate care. As long as you don't get overly needy with it, they'll likely respond.
Conversely, your little might be having accidents every few posts and you might want to curb this behavior. You can simply refuse to change them, but they can get whiny or cranky about it if you do. I find a far better way of deterring them is to make the changing roleplay less enjoyable. If you just say that you've changed them, and don't go into the details, you can make those times you do indulge them a treat.
Clothing Cuteness, Color and Style
Your little will have his or her own sense of style, and it's something which you'll need to learn and adapt to. You can be as decorative with outfits as you like, add a flourish that is to your taste, but he or she isn't a living doll; always try to describe something your little will wear and not be upset about, unless you like dealing with roleplay tantrums.
Put a little imagination into dressing your little; try to avoid stereotypes like pink and blue. Girls might like purple or yellow, rather than pink, and they might prefer trousers to skirts. Boys are usually more concerned about the motifs on the clothing than the actual type of clothes; if it's got the right cartoon character on the front you can get them to wear practically anything. Finding some images of real clothes to share with your little can enrich the roleplay experience and facilitate bonding.
Punishments - From Time-Outs To Spanking
Some littles will be dead set against punishments; others will want to be punished both frequently and often, harshly. You need to decide what punishments you intend to inflict, what earns them, and set the ground rules for your little so they know too.
Things that could be punishable include lying, swearing, breaking stuff, wetting non-diaper underwear, leaking, tantrums, disobedience, etc. Each of these can have an associated punishment in your head, such as confiscating your little's favorite toy, or giving them a time out, or brushing their teeth with soap.
I suggest you know exactly where those lines are, and give fair warning on what is to come if they keep being naughty. Some punishments could even be inflicted in real life, as well as in roleplay; the soapy tooth brush, for instance, does a really good job of curbing swearing, and it can easily be done in real life, if the little can stomach it.
Sometimes this can be a deal breaker, doing something you or your little isn't happy with can ruin a relationship keep this in mind when you're roleplaying
Treats And Rewards
Treats and rewards should be limited. You can't go to the zoo or a theme park every weekend in real life, so you shouldn't roleplay as if you can. Treats are only treats if they come occasionally, and are earned. As mentioned earlier, one easy way to reward your little for participating in the roleplay is by putting more detail into it.
You can also reward their actions. Something as simple as eating all of his or her lunch and making the experience interesting can be rewarded with a cookie, for instance. Rewards are something that your little may want to move into the real world, so you can put a limit on them there too, i.e. if you reward with cookies, then you can tell them they aren't allowed to eat even one cookie unless you have given it to them.
Who Are You?
Once you know where you stand, you can decide what kind of caretaking approach fits you best, ranging from the fun and carefree person, who doesn't really care about mischief as long as everyone has fun, to the super-strict person who thinks that kids should be seen and not heard. Generally, neither of these extremes are fun to roleplay, as the first doesn't get involved, while the second doesn't encourage the little to get involved. On this scale you will find both what you are and what your little would like and you may find it better that if there's a too big a gap to cross you'd save a lot of heart ache by stopping here.
The best advice I can give is to be yourself as much as possible. Don't try to force a persona that isn't you, as it will spoil your enjoyment of the roleplay. If your little does something that makes you genuinely mad or upset, show it, and if they make you feel all warm and fuzzy, let them know that too.
Don't be afraid to be touchy-feely. You don't have to indulge in anything physically intimate; if you feel it's a little creepy, then don't do it. However, remember that you ought to be able to get far closer to your little than you could some random stranger without freaking them out. Pick them up, give them hugs and cuddles, kiss them, and give them opportunities to reciprocate that affection.
Your own preferences matter to the roleplay just as much as your little's; a relationship is a two-way street. Make sure your needs are getting met too; if you feel pressured to let your little's preferences drive everything at the expense of your needs, then the relationship will not be sustainable, and you need to discuss this with your little.
Share yourself. You won't build a good relationship on lies, so share yourself through your roleplay. Let your little know some things about you that aren't intensely private, but that you wouldn't necessarily broadcast on the forum.
How To Get Started
The easiest way to get started, once you know your little, is to think of something you can do together, and pick a place to start. There are two basic types of caretaker roleplay; day-to-day activities, and big days out.
The easiest activities to roleplay are things that kids do everyday: playing with blocks, eating a meal, getting up or going to bed, etc. Simple activities, that you can repeat over and over, changing small things each time and building a routine that's comfortable for both of you. More elaborate activities should wait until you're both comfortable with the basics or they'll feel awkward and disjointed. I've found some littles really enjoy the simple things, even if they happen over and over.
Keep things consistent by having an overall roleplay world in mind; at the very least have a strong idea of your roleplay home and its layout, so that you can say the kitchen is always downstairs from the bedroom. Details like this make the roleplay seem more real.
There are more elaborate roleplays that you can run, such as a trip to the zoo. However, just as you wouldn't run such a trip every day in real life, so too do you need to stretch them out in the roleplay. You want these activities to be as enjoyable as you can make them, which means keeping them fresh each time you do them. Take your time, don't visit the whole zoo in one go, think up little incidents to break up the flow.
You may find that it helps to walk your little through a real place. Look up a map or use your memory. Either way, real places mean better descriptions, and that makes for a more enjoyable experience. If you take the roleplay one step at a time and include a lot of detail, you could easily stretch out a day trip for a few hundred messages in each direction, potentially amounting to several roleplay sessions. If you roleplay something often, limit and rotate the details you use; if you don't, go to town with the details.
How to Roleplay
- Use normal text or "speech marks" to say something, italics to whisper or show thought, and bold to shout
- Use *stars to denote actions* or Start with /me to make it an action on IRC
- Use (brackets to step out of the roleplay and talk and adults)
- Or If you're both good with your english write out your RP like a little private story
Above all else, be safe – if anything happens that makes you uncomfortable, break off the roleplay immediately. If you met via ADISC, then I'd suggest using the private message system or private chat as you will be able to bring anything that makes you uncomfortable to the attention of the moderators.
The Golden Rules
(1) Find the right little for you. The difference between being a good caretaker, and a great caretaker isn't in what you do, but who you do it for. Some caretakers and littles are more loving and cuddly and others are more firm and discipline-oriented. If what comes naturally is what your little likes, then you're a huge part of the way there already. That doesn't mean that you can't have a meaningful roleplay relationship with someone who tastes run a different way; it just takes a little more effort.
(2) Find your comfort zone. If it feels safe to both of you, then that's the best place to start from.
(3) There's no reason to rush things. At first it's exciting, and you may feel like you want to do everything at once, but a simple diaper change or feeding can be quite thrilling, if you take your time and use plenty of description. Encourage your little to add detail too.
(4) Know the limits. Nothing kills a relationship faster than pushing where things shouldn't be pushed, so where your little has established limits, stick to them, and make sure your little knows where your limits are too.
(5) Never do anything to anyone else that you wouldn't be comfortable having done to yourself.
(6) If it's not working for you and you can't make it work, end the relationship; it's nothing personal - some people just don't click.