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ULTIMATE GUIDE: Raising a Family in The Sims 4

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A detailed walkthrough of each growing life stage in The Sims 4 and the best tips to raising a family! From Woo-Hoo Requirements to Graduating your Teens.

For some Sims, raising a family is its own reward in life. Whether your Sim is single and wants to go down the single parent route. Or happily married and looking to expand the family with their spouse. This guide will walk new players through the process of having and raising children in The Sims 4 base game! Learn how to expand your family tree!

Do note that there are many DLC packs that add even more depth to the Sims 4 family gameplay. Which we will mention in the last section of this guide.

Becoming a Parent

sims 4 becoming a parent

There are two ways for a Sim to have a child in The Sims 4:

  • Trying for a Baby
  • Adoption

Accidental pregnancies from regular WooHoo do not occur in The Sims 4. Unless the player is using third-party mods. However, you can still Try for Baby and pretend it was a surprise baby if you want to tell that kind of story for your Sims.

To start your journey into parenthood, first decide whether you would like to conceive a biological child. Or adopt a child. You should also make sure your home has enough space for the child’s bassinet or bed as they get older and all the toys they will need for their developmental enrichment as they grow. Just like real life, children are a big financial and emotional commitment so it’s ideal for your Sim to be financially stable before they start a Sims 4 family.

Any Young Adult or older Sim can become a parent. They do not need to be married or be in a relationship with anyone in order to have a child. They also do not need to have a certain amount of money unless they are adopting, in which case they will need to pay an adoption fee. Being financially prepared for a baby ahead of time is recommended but not required.

Trying for a Baby

If you decide to add a child to your Sims 4 family through pregnancy, you will need to find a Sim to Try for a Baby with. This Sim does not need to be your Sim’s spouse or romantic partner; all you need is to either be WooHoo Partners or have a high enough romance bar with them to Try for a Baby with them.

sims 4 woohoo

By default, only Young Adult and Adult feminine-framed Sims can become pregnant. Teens and Elder females cannot become pregnant. However Young Adult, Adult, and Elder masculine-framed Sims can get other Sims pregnant. All Sims have fully customizable reproductive settings in CAS, though. So if you would like two feminine Sims or two masculine Sims to have a biological child together through pregnancy, that is certainly possible by changing their default settings in CAS. All you need to do is make one Sim able to become pregnant. And the other Sim able to get others pregnant. Really makes it easy to start your Sims 4 family!

Try for a Baby will become available on WooHoo spots.

And by clicking the other Sim when the following requirements are met:

Sims 4 WooHoo Requirements

  • Both Sims have compatible reproductive settings (one can become pregnant, the other can get Sims pregnant)
  • The Sims are WooHoo Partners OR the Sims have a high romance bar
  • There are less than 8 Sims in the household of the Sim who will become pregnant
  • The Sim who will become pregnant is not already pregnant
  • The Sims are age-appropriate (not teens and the female is not an Elder)
  • Both Sims are in a positive emotional state
  • There is a spot to WooHoo on the lot (such as a double bed)

If you are not able to have your Sims Try for a Baby, make sure all of the above requirements are met, first.

When Trying for a Baby, the odds of conception are about 85%. While there is a very good chance of getting pregnant on the first attempt – there is still a chance it may take multiple attempts.

You can find out if your Sim is pregnant by taking a pregnancy test on the toilet within 24 hours after Trying for a Baby. You can also just wait it out and be surprised. If you don’t take a pregnancy test and you don’t receive a notification that your Sim is pregnant after 24 hours, then they are not pregnant and will have to Try for a Baby again.

Pregnancy in The Sims 4

Pregnancy lasts for three days in The Sims 4 and is split up into three trimesters, each trimester lasting one Sim day, but there is some variability in the 3rd trimester. Some Sims may go into labour a few hours early or a few hours late.

pregnant sim
A pregnant Sim in her third trimester

While pregnant, your Sim’s Energy, Hunger, and Bladder motives will deplete faster and they may feel nauseous and vomit. This is all perfectly normal and your Sim will recover from these symptoms after they give birth. There may be certain activities your Sim cannot do while pregnant, like weight training and using a hot tub. However, one perk of being pregnant in The Sims 4 is that pregnant Sims are immune to death! Fire, starvation, electrocution, hungry cowplants, they are impervious to all potentially fatal hazards!

Starting in the third trimester, both parents of the baby can take paid Family Leave from work if they are employed. Sims 4 Family Leave will begin as soon as you take it and end three days after your Sim gives birth. When playing on Normal lifespan, this will be the day the newborn ages up to a toddler.

pregnant sims going in the labour

Going into Labor

When your Sim goes into labour, they will become extremely uncomfortable and periodically experience painful contractions. You can opt to have a home birth or a hospital birth at this point. Click your Sim and choose Have Baby at Hospital if you want to give birth at the hospital. You can select the other parent of the baby to go with you to the hospital if you want. After sending your Sim to the hospital, they will disappear off the lot for a period of time before returning home with their new bundle(s) of joy. The baby will appear in a bassinet in the home and you’ll be able to name the child.

sims 4 certificate

You must have a bassinet on the lot to give birth at home. You can either wait out the labour process and let the Sim give birth whenever the baby decides to come or you can speed up the process by clicking on the bassinet and selecting Have Baby.

Influencing Gender and Multiples

By default, a Sims 4 family has a 50/50 chance of having a boy or a girl and a very low chance of having twins or triplets. In fact, it’s about a 2% chance of twins and less than 1% chance of triplets. There are ways you can influence this yourself, however.

  • Strawberries: If you want to increase the chances of having a daughter, have your Sim eat lots of strawberries during their pregnancy.
  • Carrots: If you want to increase the chances of having a son, have your Sim eat lots of carrots during their pregnancy.
  • Pop Music: Listening to Pop music while pregnant increases your chances of having a girl.
  • Alternative Music: Listening to Alternative music while pregnant increases your chances of having a boy.
  • Fertile Trait: The Fertile trait is a reward trait that can be purchased for 3,000 satisfaction points from the Rewards Store. Sims with this trait are more successful when Trying for a Baby and have higher chances of conceiving twins and triplets. The chances are boosted even more if both parents have this trait.

The False Story

Contrary to false rumours flying around, listening to Pop or Alternative while watching the Kids Network on TV does NOT increase your chances of having twins or triplets in The Sims 4. Music and food only influence gender and have no effect whatsoever on multiples. The Kids Network has no effect on anything at all.

Another false rumour is that you can tell how many babies your Sim is having by the size of their stomach. This is also completely untrue. Belly size varies depending on the trimester and the Sim’s natural body build. How many babies the Sim is carrying has no bearing upon the size of their belly.

Adopting Your Sims 4 Family

Some Sims may want a family but don’t feel like pregnancy is the right choice for them. That’s perfectly okay because pregnancy is not the only way to have children in The Sims 4. You can also grow your Sims 4 family through adoption.

adopting a sims family

Any Young Adult or older Sim can adopt a child as long as they have $1,000 to pay the adoption fee. Your Sim does not need to be married or in a committed relationship to adopt; however, couples can adopt children together, too.

To adopt a child, use the computer and select Adopt under the Household tab. You’ll be presented with a menu of children to select from, ranging in age from baby to child. Pick any of the available children and accept in order to process the adoption. Your Sim will leave the lot for a period of time to go pick up their new Sims 4 family member. When they return home, you’ll be prompted to give the child a new name if you want to.

sims 4 adoption certificate

Are there differences?

There is no difference between adopted children and biological children as far as game mechanics go. They are still listed on the Sims 4 family tree like biological children and treated exactly the same as biological children with no distinction between adopted and biological children. The only real difference between adopted children and biological children is genetics. Biological children will share some of their parents’ genetics, while adopted children will have random genetics.

sims 4 kids
This Sim adopted a child to become part of the family

If your Sim is married, their spouse will automatically become the adopted child’s other parent. If your Sim is single or just dating, your Sim will be the sole parent of the child. You cannot adopt more than one child at a time but you can adopt multiple children back-to-back as long as you have the funds to pay the $1,000 adoption fee each time.

Raising Children in Your Sims 4 Family

Now that you know how to have children, you should probably know how to take care of them, too.

Babies

sims 4 baby

Babies are completely helpless and need you to take care of all of their needs for them. They are also stuck to their bassinets and cannot be carried around or taken places. Their main needs are Hunger, Social, and Bladder. You cannot see your baby’s motives; you’ll have to guess what they want whenever they cry. It’s easy to see when they need a diaper change because they will have green stink fumes coming from them. It’s not as easy to tell if your baby is hungry or lonely, though. A good way to ensure all your baby’s needs are met is to feed them, play with them, and change their diaper all in one go whenever you tend to them.

The Sim who gave birth to the baby will have the option to breastfeed the baby as well as bottle feed them. All other Sims will only be able to bottle feed the child.

sims 4 mother and child

Babies Interactions and Limitations

Toddlers and children have some limited interactions with babies but cannot do baby care tasks. Only teens and older Sims can take care of a baby’s needs.

Babies cannot be left at home alone, but if you don’t hire a nanny to come look after them when you leave the house, they will automatically be sent to daycare when you leave and return home upon your arrival back home.

If you don’t do a good job of providing your baby with enough food and love, social services will take them from you and you will never be able to get the child back! Once social services takes them, they are gone forever!

Toddlers

sims  toddler playing
A toddler building Movement skill by stacking toy blocks

Toddlers have some limited independence but are still a huge handful! In addition to keeping all their basic needs met, you’ll also need to make sure they are building skills for future success in life. Building toddler skills will also take a small load off your shoulders because it will allow your toddler to be a little more independent and do more things without adult supervision.

Toddler Skills

There are five toddler skills. All skills go up to level 5, except for Potty, which maxes out at level 3.

  • Communication: Talk to your toddler or have them talk to a stuffed animal to build this skill.
  • Movement: Just running around will slowly build this skill but toddlers can also stack blocks, use the Wabbit Tablet, and play wrestle with an adult to build this skill.
  • Thinking: Going “What’s That?” on objects, watching older Sims do various tasks, playing flash cards with an adult, and playing with the Wabbit Tablet all build this skill.
  • Imagination: Looking at or reading toddler books, playing with toys, being read a bedtime story, and playing with the Wabbit Tablet will build Imagination skill.
  • Potty: Use a toddler potty chair to build this skill. Toddlers can’t use the potty by themselves at first; they need a grown-up’s help, but they will be able to use the potty by themselves once they reach level 2 in this skill.

Toddlers will gain the Happy Toddler trait if they grow into children with all skills at least at level 3, which will give a slight boost to all skill gain for the rest of their lives. Maxing out all toddler skills before becoming a child will give them the Top-Notch Toddler trait, which gives large skill boosts for the rest of their lives.

sims 4 mother reading to toddler
Reading your toddler a bedtime story will help sleep soundly throughout the night.

Toddler Needs

Luckily, toddlers are a little more independent than in past Sims games. They sleep in toddler beds instead of cribs which means they can put themselves to bed and get out of bed by themselves. They can also eat anything that adults can eat and eat anywhere they like. You don’t need to get them in and out of a high chair or make a separate meal for them. In fact, using high chairs is a massive pain in The Sims 4 and we recommend not using them at all. Meal times go much smoother when the toddler is allowed to help themselves and eat wherever they choose.

sims parenting
Don’t forget to tuck them in and play lullabies on low volume for them!

Despite their newfound independence, toddlers do still need lots of comfort from adults. They may wake up several times a night from nightmares and wake up their parents crying. You can lessen the frequency of nightmares by reading your toddler a bedtime story, tucking them in, and playing lullabies music in their room on low volume at bedtime. Toddlers with high Thinking skill will have nightmares less frequently and be less inclined to try and splash in the toilet bowl.

Toddler Care

Toddlers cannot be left at home alone, but if you don’t hire a nanny to come look after them when you leave the house, they will automatically be sent to daycare when you leave and return home upon your arrival back home.

If you don’t do a good job of providing your toddler with enough food and love, social services will take them from you and you will never be able to get the child back! Once social services takes them, they are gone forever!

Children

kids playing
A child doing her homework

It can be a big relief when a toddler becomes a child to the Sims 4 family. Because the parents get some time to themselves again. They are far more independent than toddlers and spend seven hours a day, five days a week at school.

Children have their own aspirations and skills that will provide them with benefits as they get older if mastered.

Child Aspirations

Just like adults, children can swap between aspirations and complete as many aspirations as you want.

  • Whiz Kid: Completing this aspiration will make your child gain all mental skills faster for the rest of their lives.
  • Artistic Prodigy: Completing this aspiration will make your child gain all creative skills faster for the rest of their lives.
  • Rambunctious Scamp: Completing this aspiration will make your child gain all physical skills faster for the rest of their lives.
  • Social Butterfly: Completing this aspiration will make your child gain all social skills faster for the rest of their lives.

Child Skills

All child skills go up to level 10. Mastering a child skill will allow your child to start building the adult equivalent of that skill as a child. For example, mastering the Creativity skill will allow them to build the Piano skill as a child. Children also start out at level 3 in certain skills as a teen depending on which child skills they’ve mastered.

  • Mental: Play chess, read books, fish, garden, do homework, or play with the child’s chemistry set to build this skill.
  • Motor: Play on the monkey bars or a jungle gym, play Keyboard Commander, or Practice Typing on a computer to build this skill.
  • Creativity: Play with toys or a dollhouse, play the child’s violin, or draw at a child’s activity table to build this skill.
  • Social: Talk with other Sims or to a stuffed animal to build this skill!

Children can largely take care of all of their own needs without adult assistance. The only thing they can’t do to satisfy their motives is cook by themselves. However, they can help an older Sim cook. If you don’t have a lot of free time to cook for your kids, make several party-sized meals at once and store them in the fridge for the week. Any children in the home will be able to grab leftovers for themselves whenever they get hungry. Children can also grab less nutritious quick meals like cereal and crackers from the fridge. So even if you forget to cook for a day, they won’t starve.

sims kid drawing
A child building Creativity skill by drawing at her activity table

If you thought the days of your kids waking you up at night were over… think again. There is a chance that children might get a visit from the monster that lives under their bed that only they can see. If the monster under the bed shows up, they will freak out and run to wake up their parents. You’ll have to get rid of the monster with “monster spray” and calm your child down before your child will go back to sleep in that bed. You can also take preventative measures by spraying the bed for monsters each night before your child goes to sleep. To get rid of the monster for good, purchase a Coolala Defender Light from the buy catalogue and place it in your child’s room near their bed. The nightlight will permanently keep the monsters at bay. Monsters will not appear under double beds so buying a double bed for your child will also stop monsters from showing up.

Children Elementary School and Schedule

All children attend school five days a week. They will need to keep on top of doing their homework every night and build skills if they want to do well in school. To get an A in school, children will need to reach level 4 in any skill and consistently show up to class on time every day with their homework completed. If a child loses their homework, you can purchase a new homework book for them from any bookcase for $1.

Unlike babies and toddlers, children can be left at home alone. But if you don’t have leftovers in the fridge for them to eat, you may still want to hire a nanny to come and cook for them while you’re away.

If your child’s needs are neglected or if they fail school, social services will take them from you and you will never be able to get the child back! Once social services takes them, they are gone forever!

Teenagers

sims 4 teenagers
A teenager holding hands with her new girlfriend

Teenagers are a very fun life stage because they have almost all the same freedoms adults have. Which can be both very entertaining and very dramatic. In fact, teens are so self-sufficient that they don’t even need to live with an adult. They can live on their own and survive perfectly fine.

Teens can cook, clean, hold down part-time jobs, have romantic relationships, and take care of children. They are very close to adults in almost every way, except they cannot have their own children and they still need to go to school.

Teens High School Attendance & Schedule

Like children, teens attend school five days a week and must show up on time, build skills, and complete their homework every night in order to raise their grade to an A. If they were an A student as a child, they will start out with a B grade instead of a C. There is technically no penalty for failing school as a teen. Social services won’t take them away and they won’t be barred from any career when they’re older. You could just have them never go to school with no repercussions. However, aging into a Young Adult with an A grade in high school will allow your Sim to start any full-time career at level 3 instead of level 1, so there is an incentive to do well in school.

A teenager on her way to her early morning part-time job as a barista before school starts.
A teenager on her way to her early morning part-time job as a barista before school starts.

Sims 4 Teen Careers

Teens can help support their Sims 4 family by getting a part-time job. They will be restricted to taking shifts that don’t interfere with their school hours. Part-time jobs can be a great way for teens to build extra skills and make some of their own money. Even if all household funds are shared. But it may be a lot for them to juggle with school and homework.

Teenagers can also experience romance for the first time! Teens can go on dates, be in a committed romantic relationship, and even Mess Around (the teen equivalent of WooHoo) and exchange promise rings! Teens can only be romantic with other teens and cannot become pregnant or get anyone else pregnant. When exchanging promise rings, their relationship status changes to Promised. However, being promised to each other as teens is not a proper engagement. Promised teens will still need to propose as young adults and become engaged.

sim teenager love
Ahhh young love!

While this may be depressing to know, social services will never remove teens from the home for any reason. No matter how badly they are mistreated or neglected. Honestly, we hope this changes in a future game update.

DLC’s for Your Sims 4 Family

While this guide gives a detailed overview of how to raise children in the base game, there are several DLC packs you can purchase to enhance your Sims 4 family gameplay. DLC is optional content; you don’t have to buy it but you may be interested in purchasing some DLC packs to add more to your gaming experience.

  • Parenthood: A game pack that adds more depth to everyday Sims 4 family life. Childhood phases, teen mood swings, diaries, making messes, school projects, curfews, groundings, and a new character value system that affects how kids develop are all things you can expect from this DLC pack.
  • High School Years: This pack is all about the teens! Follow them to school, prepare for prom, deal with acne breakouts and body hair, become valedictorian or drop out of school, sneak out of bedroom windows, hang out at the boba tea and thrift shop, and cause ALL the drama.
  • Kids Room Stuff: A smaller pack focused on kids who want to be tweens. New bedroom furnishings and clothes for kids, a new tween radio and TV station, a skill building puppet theatre, and collectible Voidcritter cards that can be trained, traded, and battled with are all main features of this pack.
  • Toddler Stuff: Host playdates for your tiny tots and give them new ways to have fun and build skills with outdoor playground equipment designed just for toddlers.
  • Little Campers: An adorable bite-sized kit full of fun items for a kids sleepover in the backyard. Toys, a backyard movie projector, a firepit for roasting marshmallows and a cute blanket fort tent are just some of the fun and colourful items included in this kit.
  • First Fits: A small handful of basic kids’ clothing in muted earth tones.

If you’re interested in more family gameplay, check out our article on best packs for family gameplay!

About the author

SnarkyWitch

A cranky old lady who prefers the company of cats and Sims over people. Occasionally peeks out from her lair long enough to chuck Sims articles at innocent bystanders.

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