Littlespace and middlespace are terms used to describe states of mind in which an adult takes on the identity of a younger age, typically a child. This may include behaviors like speaking in a higher-pitched voice, using childlike words and phrases, playing with toys, wearing childlike clothing, and enjoying activities like coloring, watching cartoons, or playing with stuffed animals.
While the activities outlined above may be representational of how many littles enjoy littlespace, it is important to note that littlespace is more about being in a state of mind where you can allow yourself to "shut off".
How to get into littlespace...
Getting into little/middle space alone
I’ll be real with you, getting into little or middle space alone, can be tough. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t get fully (or even partially) into little/middle space the first few times you try. It takes practice. A lot of it is just learning to let go and not judging yourself, which is easier said than done. There are some things you can do to make it easier though. In my experience, especially when you first start, the more prep you do, the easier it is! A lot of the time, planning out what you’re going to do and setting it up beforehand can make getting into and staying in that headspace much easier.
For example, say I want to have a little night. Typically I’ll think about what activities sound fun and go from there. I like playing with LEGO and watching little shows - so, I’ll spend some time setting that all up. I’ll set up an area in front of the TV with my LEGO, get some snacks (bonus points if you have the baby food pouches of applesauce, those are my favorite :3), and a bottle, then turn on my show. After that, I typically take a shower and put on a diaper. For me, showering really helps with the transition into little space, it almost resets my brain. When I’m done changing, everything is already set up and the TV is going. I don’t really have to do anything else, other than be a baby!
When I first started trying to get into littlespace, that’s what I’d do. Now, if I’m alone, I don’t usually have a set routine because I like to focus more on activities that are more in the realm of middlespace. Things like sculpting, or making toys (I like to 3D print things) are how I get into that headspace by myself. How you experience littlespace will likely evolve and change over time. That’s okay, and normal. Do what feels best, for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment!
It can be tough at first because a lot of us almost forget how to play or we want whatever we’re doing to be perfect, but it’s not about that! Like Mommy Black says “There are no wrongs in littles’ crafting” - well there are also no wrongs in building, coloring, etc! Try your best to be gentle with yourself. After all, you’re just a baby :P
What helped me was altering my inner voice so that it was like I was talking to a biological child. If a biological child came up to you and showed you their LEGO creation you would probably say something like “Oh my goodness, what a pretty sculpture! Did you build that all by yourself? No way! I love the colors! You did such a good job, I’m so proud of you! You should be very proud!”, right? So when you’re little, you want to have that same energy toward yourself! Instead of looking at your drawing and saying “This looks nothing like a turtle! I’m terrible at this.” try finding something you like about it. Say “Wow, I’m really proud of this! I chose such great colors!”. It may sound silly, but I swear, it makes a huge difference. Being kind to yourself is super important.
If you’re struggling to get into littlespace on your own, sometimes it can help if you find a friend! This is easier said than done, and if you’re new to the community, this may be too much for you for a while, and that’s okay! But if you want to try and find a friend to play with you can do that, online (or in person)! There is an AB/DL subreddit, tons of forums online, etc. (disclaimer: make sure you stay safe and properly vet people before meeting up or engaging with people you met online. Don’t sue us, please). You can play games virtually with people, or even just chat. A lot of the time, it’s just nice to know you’re not the only one! I have a couple of little friends I met online through various platforms and sometimes we get together to play games or chat. It took me a while to find my people, but I stuck with it. Don’t get discouraged if you have a few failed attempts before you find a friend that sticks, it happens! :)
Getting into little/middle space with someone else
There are many different types of people with whom you can engage in this type of play with. For example, little friends, your spouse, play partner(s), etc., and the way you interact with each of those people will likely be different based on the role(s) you and your partner have.
For example, say you have a friend, Bob. Bob likes to wear diapers and is strictly a little. Assuming you're also strictly a little, playing with Bob would likely entail literally playing - like coloring, playing video games, watching cartoons, etc. Whatever you and Bob both agree to, prior to the play date!
Here's another example, again assuming you're strictly a little. If your spouse is only interested in a caregiving role, playing with them may look very different from playing with Bob! With your spouse, while you certainly can play games and all of that, you also can focus more on fostering that special bond that can develop between a caregiver and little. Cuddling, diaper changes, feeding, bath time, etc. all help strengthen that connection with your partner.
These are just examples! How you choose to play is totally up to you and them. Don't feel limited by what has been outlined above. The goal of that explanation was to showcase that you don't have to only play with your life partner, there are other ways and other people to play with (if you wish to do so).
Now that we've discussed what can happen, let's talk about what to do before you play. This is going to be different for everyone, but in my experience, being comfortable with the people you are playing with is the most important thing. If you aren't comfortable with them, especially if it's one of your first experiences with this type of thing, that can make it significantly harder.
Make sure you talk to the people you're going to be playing with beforehand and express any concerns or limits you may have. Although it may feel weird, it's super important that you have that conversation to avoid any misunderstanding! It’s better to find out prior to playing if you’re not compatible.
Something my previous partner and I would do is if I felt embarrassed to share something I wanted to do or try, I’d have her close her eyes while I told her. It may sound silly, but it worked really well, for us. If you’re struggling to talk to your partner, coming up with ways to ease your anxiety can really help with opening up.
While being an AB/DL should not be shameful, unfortunately, many of us are ashamed, and as a result, we may struggle to be emotionally vulnerable. I understand it’s scary and daunting, but the feeling of acceptance is well worth the anxiety of the discussion, I promise :)
The last thing you need to do before you play is establish safe words/phrases. Even if your play is non-sexual, having safe words is essential. Sometimes, when you’re little it can be hard to express how you feel. Establishing those safewords and phrases, beforehand, can really help in cases where you don’t know how to express what’s wrong. Sometimes, non-verbal cues are best, especially if you become non-verbal while playing. I usually use “pineapples” as my safe word since you probably won’t say that randomly while playing :P
Once you've communicated with your partner(s), it’s time to play! How this happens will depend on the people you’re playing with, where you are, what you’re doing, etc. Some ideas for activities can be found, below.
Playing games (video games, board games, card games, etc.)
Watching a movie, cartoon, or show
Doing crafts or making art
Playing with toys or stuffed animals
Building a fort
What you choose to do while you play is up to you and your partner. That list is far from exhaustive, but it may spark some ideas!
Going from baby mode (or caregiver mode) to adult mode can be tough - take some time to decompress and slowly reenter adult space. This is the perfect time to cuddle with your partner! Something that really helps me transition into, and out of, baby mode is taking a shower. It helps to reset my brain
This is super important! Make sure you take time to do things for your partner. While playing is super fun and exciting, your caregiver needs to be taken care of as well! Make sure to tell them you love them, how much you enjoyed playing with them, etc. Ask them how they’re feeling, and what they need! Caregivers are people too and they want to feel loved, appreciated, and taken care of, just like the rest of us!