Growing Together: An Early Preview

Presented by the EA  Network, we got to recently take a look at the newest expansion pack for The Sims 4, Growing Together!

Splash Screen of Growing TogetherThis pack is all about the little moments shared between a family as everyone, well, grows together! This may be a little moment, such as a shared embrace between Sims. It may be larger moments, such a family reunion finally bringing everyone together after all these years – how you want to play your family is totally up to you!

New Likes and Dislikes 

To start off, let’s take a look at some of the new personality features that Sims have. These can be assigned in CAS when creating a sim, and oftentimes they will be “earned” through gameplay.

The first section we’ll look at is some of the new Likes and Dislikes that help form the basis of the new Social Compatibility system. This system can bring like-minded sims together, or drive opposites apart. 

While entirely platonic, if Sims have matching likes and dislikes, it’ll be easier for them to become friends and advance their relationship. Kindred spirits, one might say! There currently are be four levels of compatibility:

  • Neutral: Sims don’t have any particular feelings towards each other. This is similar to how sims previously existed.
  • Incompatible: These Sims have opposing likes and dislikes, and so they will have a negative compatibility score. They will find that they more frequently annoy each other, and that they may run into more negative reactions from each other than other sims. 
  • Compatible: These Sims have similar likes and dislikes, and will have a more positive experience in whatever their relationship may be. Discussions of shared interests award higher relationship increases. Likewise, social interactions are more likely to get a positive reaction. 
  • Amazing Compatibility: Sims with high compatibility get along like two peas in a pod. They have the highest level of compatibility, and it seems that social interactions will almost always get a positive reaction.

These compatibility scores can change during gameplay, though! Sims can gain Likes and Dislikes based on things that happen while you’re playing. Just because two sims are compatible at one point, that does not mean that they will always be compatible! (Likewise, sims who aren’t initially compatible might become compatible over time.)

Some of the new likes/dislikes include two new categories: Conversation Topics and Sim Characteristics. 

The Conversation Topics section matches up fairly well with the new pie menu reorganization for social interactions. These Likes and Dislikes include things like Affection, Arguments, Discussion Interests, Flirting, etc. There are 18 new likes/dislikes total in this section.

The Sim Characteristics includes options that match up with the traits that you give a sim – things like a sim being ambitionless or argumentative. There are 18 total likes and dislikes here as well.

With the addition of these two new categories, the total number of likes/dislikes you can assign a sim has been raised to 50. 

Family Dynamics

The other big new addition to CAS is the Family Dynamics panel. If you are creating multiple sims at once, you can set the style of interaction that the game will use when those sims are autonomously interacting. Options include things like “Close” or “Distant,” and the dynamic options vary between age groups and relationships. 

These dynamics can also be set in the game based on your play style. For example, frequently scolding a toddler or lecturing on misbehavior very quickly ended up with both of our sims developing the “Strict” dynamic in relation to their kids. 

When the game decides a dynamic might be fitting, you’ll get a prompt to confirm it. We accepted any dynamics that the game thought was appropriate, but you can also decline a family dynamic when the game asks about it.

Producing Milk & Breastfeeding

Another new option to help you really customize your sims, you can set if a sim can produce milk or not. This option is available as a gender customization for all sims, and defines if that sim will be able to perform the“Breastfeed” interaction.

The new breastfeeding interaction can be performed as a direct feeding interaction, or you can also set it as a feeding preference – with bottle feeding being the other option. The feeding preference can also be set as a self-interaction if you have an infant as your active sim.

overall Gameplay Observations

Now, when going into the game, we had some overall feelings towards the gameplay that we’ll touch on:

  • The first thing we noticed is that Sims are doing really, really, good at taking care of themselves. At one point our household had four kids aged between baby, infant, and toddler, and we had no trouble keeping up with the family. We groaned when we saw our science baby was actually TWO science babies, but our fears were all for naught. 
  • As an extension of this, our sims were generally always in a good mood because they were so adept at keeping with their needs. Subsequently, pretty much our entire household ended up with the Neat trait, since they were constantly cleaning up after the kids in some way. 
  • There is a new “care dependent” title that parents will have, and we found that the speed at which the caregiving sim responded to crying was almost instantaneous. It seems that babies/toddlers/infants can only have one caregiver set to respond to them at a time. However, an adult sim can be a caregiver for multiple children at a time. 
  • Sims are continuously, and autonomously, gaining basic skills while performing everyday tasks. This makes it significantly easy to handle newborns and toddlers. (We’re having flashbacks to years gone by of having to send your sim into motive failure after spending hours teaching toddlers to talk/walk – thankfully days long gone!) We even had one toddler grow up with “Top Notch Toddler” with literally no extra effort on our part. 
  • Lifespans have adjusted – newborn to infant is shorter, but then all of the rest of the lifespans have been lengthened. (By what feels to be quite significant, too.) Your sims will have plenty of time to experience all of the things that this pack has to offer!
Temporary Stay Visitors

Shortly after we started playing, we had a handful of surprise visitors! We received a phone call from Kyle asking to come stay with us – we figured, why not, we can use the help with the kids! (Kyle really wasn’t the most helpful…)

Kyle’s official title is just… Kyle?

After that, we got another phone call from the grandfather that he was coming to stay and help out. Again, we figured, sure, the more the merrier! Well, low and behold – he showed up with the mom’s ex-husband, and her other child from her previous marriage! A bit of an odd situation, but okay. So with our four house guests settling in, we set off on our adventure into parenthood.

The living room is now the “Suitcase Room”

(Note that you can decline temporary stays if you wish.)

Sims on a Temporary Stay will arrive with a suitcase. This suitcase will be left in a random (and always inconvenient!) location, but you can pick it up and move it. The suitcase is also available in the Buy Mode catalog, and functions as a dresser.

Baby Shower Event

When having a child, there is a new “Baby Shower” event! (You can have a baby shower at any point, a sim does not actually have to be pregnant.)

Like other events, you can schedule these to happen at some point in the future using the calendar feature. Alternatively, you can start a baby shower event immediately by using the phone.

When setting up the baby shower, it follows a similar set-up process to other events. The main distinction is that you can set up to 2 sims to be the “expecting parent(s),” and then the guest list and location selection are the standard options as with other events.

Baby showers are a “Goaled Event” – meaning that you will be given specific tasks to complete a certain number of times to increase the success of the event. The tasks we were given:

  • Talk About Baby 6 Times
  • Gush About Baby 2 Times
  • Tell Funny Stories 3 Times
  • Congratulate Expecting Parents 2 Times

If you have multiple sims under your control at the baby shower, you can manually perform the “congratulate” option. Otherwise, this task might be difficult to complete if you have to wait for other sims to autonomously perform the action. 

We did receive several gifts from other sims throughout the shower. A notification will alert you that a gift has been placed in your inventory. This is a really nice touch – especially if you have sims just starting out who are struggling a bit financially.

Slumber Party Event

Another new event type is the slumber party. This is the perfect casual get-together for children to hang out and have fun, although it’s not limited by age. We invited a mixture of kids and adults to ours – including Kyle, who appeared to have a great time dancing and drinking his energy drinks.

Slumber Party Story Time

(Don’t judge our living room, it’s tough having a house and four kids on a budget of §20,000!)

Slumber Parties are also goaled events. The goals we had were:

  • Have Multiple Sims Chatting at the Same Time 
  • Sleep
  • Have Sims Play Games at the Same Time 
  • Have Sims Eat at the Same Time

While the Sleep goal is obvious and makes sense, we found it kind of threw a wrench in the works. The goals were only marked complete when they naturally finished, which is a bit inconvenient when the interaction is many hours long. The other goals were quite easy.

Slumber Parties are also the perfect opportunity to use the new Sleeping Bags! These function as a bed, with the exception that they are portable and can be kept in your sims inventory. (And while you can invite adult sims to your slumber parties, adults will often get an uncomfortable moodlet from the sleeping bag.)

Science Babies

A new option for having children has been added – science abies! There are two options for having a science baby: with another sim, or as a single parent.

If you choose to have a science baby with another sim, you’ll basically just be using that sim’s genetics – there is no romantic involvement or romantic relationship requirement. (Sims will have to have a high enough friendship in order to agree to the interaction, though.)

If you choose to have a science baby as a single parent, then the genetics of the baby will be entirely based on that parent.

We performed the option to have one of our sims have a science baby as a single parent, and he came back with twins! (We’re not sure if triplets are possible or not.) With the possibility of having twins, you cannot have a science baby if there are already 7 sims in the household.


Babies are now genetically correct for skin tone and eye color. Gameplay for babies hasn’t changed much, but they are much easier to care for overall.

The baby Care menu allows for setting of feeding preferences, as sims can now breastfeed as well as bottlefeeding.

This is also where you find the option for “Adopt As Care Dependent,” which determines which sim will respond when the baby is crying or needs attention.

There is also a new bassinet! If you purchase the new bassinet before a baby is born, that will be the one that is used. If you let the game spawn one when needed, it looks like it still defaults to the original. 


Infants are an entirely new lifestate being added to the game in the pre-pack patch that help naturalize the transition from baby to toddler. As a lifestate, they are fully customizable in CAS.

Infants are unable to move by themselves, so they still need a lot of help from their caregiving sims. 

As you play, infants unlock milestones and develop quirks – these are things like “Frequently Hiccups,” “Happy Spitter,” and “Snuggly Sleeper,” just to name a few that we saw. These quirks help define how infants react to various things happening around them. For example, the “Snuggly Sleeper” quirk will cause infants to cry when they are put into a crib to sleep instead of being held. Each infant develops a unique personality based on their quirks.

As infants grow and interact with the world and other sims around them, they will start to reach “milestones.” These are things like “coo” or “laugh” that represent the growth of your infant.

These milestones don’t necessarily follow a set order, but you’ll often see milestones that are grayed out in the Milestone panel indicating what you can expect to be next.

Infants also bring new objects into the game: cribs and diaper changing stations.

 Cribs function as an age-appropriate bed for infants. When your infant becomes a toddler and outgrows the crib, there is an “Upgrade” option at level 2 handiness to convert the crib into a toddler bed. (And likewise, a toddler bed can be converted back into a crib at any point as well.) Cribs can also be upgraded to have a mobile, in either a “birds” or “space” theme.

The diaper changing stations are fairly self-explanatory, they can be used to change a dirty diaper, and also as a dresser for changing/planning outfits. They can even be upgraded with security straps for those particularly rambunctious infants and toddlers!

Infants also get a new playmat object where they can lay and look at/play with the toys attached to it. (This can be a great place to put your infant if you need to sneak away and take a bit of a break from childcare for a few minutes!)

If you take particularly good care of your infant, they’ll also get the “Top Notch Infant” trait when they grow up. This turns into a positive moodlet they carry with them through the rest of their life, as they will believe in the good of the universe and trust that everything will work out for them.

Adopting Infants

Infants also have a Live Mode interaction that adult sims can perform on them to “Adopt” them! At one point, one of our sims ended up having twins via the “Have Science Baby as Single Parent” interaction. Once the twins had grown into infants, his wife then had the option to “adopt” them.

Losing Teeth

A new childhood event, you’ll find that your children will get a notification that they have a loose tooth! Once a tooth is loose, they’ll get two self-interactions: they can wiggle the tooth, or they can just pull it out.

Once a child has lost a tooth, you’ll notice that they will be physically missing a tooth as well.

A new tooth will eventually grow in, or else there is also an interaction to get a cosmetic fix to fill in the gap. 

When losing a tooth, sims can then take that tooth and place it under their pillow to get some extra simoleons! They will also get a certificate in their inventory from the tooth fairy that can be displayed around the house. 

Tree Houses

The new Tree House object adds several interactions and opportunities for sims of multiple age groups. This is quite a large object at 9×9, so you will need a fair bit of yard space.

Building a treehouse must be first started by an adult, but then children/teens can also join in on the construction and have the family work together to complete it.

The tree house can be decorated in several themes, such as a space, pirate, or fairytale castle theme.

Along with those themes, children also get a new “Play Pretend…” interaction, in which they get unique little effects that only they can see.

The treehouse can be upgraded with a slide, a pole, and a bell. Depending on what upgrades you’ve added, you can also then set rules for the treehouse entrance and exit – such as only using the slide.

Children can also “lock” the treehouse, if they want to set it so that only children can enter it.

Adults do get several interactions with the treehouse. For example, the enclosure makes a great place to sit and think if you get mad and need to diffuse your temper. (The enclosure is also a new woohoo spot!) The platform also makes for a nice place to sit and read!


There are tons of new bikes with this pack – 1 for adults, and 6 for children. These bikes all feature variations of each other, things like different handlebar styles and then with/without bells or baskets.

Children will need to learn how to ride a bike. They can either practice on their own, or ask an adult for help. (They can also practice indoors, which might be less than great…) 

Maybe not the ideal spot to learn to ride…

The bikes are all portable, and when getting off of one, sims will automatically default to putting it in their inventory. 

Friendship Bracelets

A new crafting object has been added that allows sims to create (and exchange) friendship bracelets. (This really puts the “together” in “Growing Together!”) There are a variety of bracelets that your sims can make in different colors and designs.Five different varieties of friendship bracelets

If two sims each have a friendship bracelet, they can exchange them with each other – and then they will actually show up on the sim!

Friendship bracelets don’t last forever, though, and will eventually get worn down and ultimately fall off.

You cannot manually take a friendship bracelet off once it is being worn. You can request your bracelet back from the person you exchanged it with, though. Otherwise, you just have to wait for it to wear out and fall off.

Burn Out

Something for the adult sims, sometimes the idea of Growing Together means learning to deal with the unwanted! If a sim is working too hard at their profession, or spending too much time studying skills repeatedly, they’ll fall into a sense of being burnt out. Burn Out will start with a mental fog. When you notice this happening, it’s best to take a break and let them relax and have fun. 

There is no specific cure to get rid of burn out. Give your sims enough recreational time, and eventually the moodlets will fade. We found this rather easy, as even sleeping lowered the moodlets.

If your sim does not get a break, that burn out will turn into a brain block. Sims with a brain block moodlet will be under a lot of stress, and may find it more difficult to complete certain tasks. 

Mid Life Crisis

If you can’t resolve the Burn Out, it will eventually turn into an “Early Midlife Crisis.” This is the precursor to your sim falling into a full-blown midlife crisis if they don’t turn things around!

Once your sim enters a midlife crisis, they’ll get an area in the the aspiration panel devoted to their new (albeit temporary) wants in life.

Our midlife crisis started with a duration of 7 days. Midlife Crisis are shortened by completing the temporary aspiration tasks associated with the crisis.

Our sim was fairly high up in the business career, and her midlife crisis went into the creative field instead. Aptly titled “Desire To Create,”  the goals we started with were:

  • Spend 5 Hours Woodworking
  • Shape 5 Bonsai trees
  • View Tragic Clown Painting
  • Sell Three Paintings

As you complete these goals, they will shorten the time of the midlife crisis. You can ignore these goals if you wish, and nothing bad will happen. You’ll just have to wait out the full length of the midlife crisis. If you do choose to complete these goals, a new one will be generated to replace the completed one.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this pack feels like it really adds a significant amount of depth to sims and their interactions with each other.  Every sim feels unique in how they develop and interact with others. The compatibility system ensures that you never know what to expect when meeting new sims. (Casually chatting with and then trying to marry the very first sim you meet might not work anymore…)

The increase in lifespan is appreciated, as that extra time can be put to good use in so many fun ways. It no longer feels as if you have to be in quite such a rush to reach certain milestones, and your sims can have a bit of breathing room. Our sims are probably tired of our chaotic work-all-day-skill-all-night method, so this is a welcome relief!

The base-game update featuring the new Infant lifestage will be available tomorrow, March 14th, 2023.

The Sims 4: Growing Together will be released on Thursday, March 16th, 2023.


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