The Sims 4: Sims for New Players

Lifespan Settings, Needs, Whims, and How to Care for Sims

Sims in The Sims 4
A Well-Cared for Sim is a Happy Sim!

While how many friends Sims will have, what they do for a living, and whether they pursue a romantic relationship to build a family are up to the player, some elements of gameplay and caring for Sims are common to anyone playing The Sims 4. This Guide will focus on caring for Sims by filling their needs, Whims, the process of aging, and an introduction to Emotions and how those work. We'll also touch on making money by joining a Career or adopting a Skill, although that will have its own Guide in due time so that we can gradually create a list of all the possible viable ways to earn Simoleons in the game. Naturally, more will be added as it evolves through Expansions and Game Packs.

Making a Sim: Traits, Aspirations, and Age

While creating your Sim, the look of their outfits for various occasions and walk style are entirely up to you and do not affect gameplay. There are, however, some gameplay concepts that come up at Sim creation:

Aspirations in The Sims 4
Aspirations are Life Goals for Sims that Reward them with extra Traits


An Aspiration is like a Lifetime Wish. The Sim wants to achieve this, and will receive a Reward Trait upon completion of that Aspiration. When you select an Aspiration at Sim creation, it comes with a Bonus Trait. These cannot be changed, although Aspirations may be changed at any time. You may switch Aspirations and view goals at any time by pressing 'G' and selecting the Star icon. Each Aspiration has milestones to complete, at which point you will get another set of goals. During that process, they will gain Satisfaction to spend at the Rewards Store. When an Aspiration is done, you should switch to another to chase another Reward Trait and the gobs of Satisfaction that come from completing the goals of later milestones.

Traits in The Sims 4
Selecting good Traits may help your Sim succeed in life


Sims may have up to 3 Traits upon creation or aging up, along with the extra Bonus Trait from Aspiration. Traits determine Sim behavior, animations, and give gameplay bonuses and/or penalties. Reward Traits come in two forms: the Rewards you receive for completing Aspirations, and those purchased from the Rewards Store. The Rewards Store is found by pressing 'G' and going to the little Gift box there. These cost Satisfaction, gained from Aspiration goals and Whims. There is an Achievement for having a Sim with 12 Traits. You will ultimately get a few Reward Traits from Aspirations and even more from the Rewards Store. This can make for Sims with super powers who do not need to use the restroom or make more money selling their items.

Aging in Sims 4
Lifespan Settings in The Sims 4 are Found Here

Age and Lifespan of Sims

It is generally advisable to start a Sim as a Young Adult so that they have more time to level Skills, advance in Careers, and develop Relationships with other Sims before Elder-hood and their ultimate death. Sims can avert death by purchasing the Potion of Youth or drinking Essence from a Dead Sim in a Cow Plant. Once in the game, Aging settings may be changed at any time by going to Game Options (ESC), Gameplay, Sim Lifespan. The Sim will have a proportionate amount of their life used, however, so if you went from Short halfway through Adulthood, they'd only have 40 days left on long. When Sims become Elders, they will eventually die if nothing is done. The amount of time varies, but may be extended by completing the Bodybuilder Aspiration for the Long Lived Reward Trait. Playing on Short is not recommended for most games, as Sims will not accomplish much before they die. Normal is about perfect for most players. Here are the number of days you have in each life stage based on the lifespan setting in the game:

SettingBabyToddlerChildTeenYoung AdultAdultElder
Long122852529696Vary by Sim
Normal3713132424Vary by Sim
Short1.54771212Vary by Sim

How to Age Up a Sim & Make them Older

>While Sims may age up automatically as their Birthday approaches, they may be aged up manually by baking any type of cake, clicking it to add candles, then having that Sim blow out the candles. Sims of all Ages, Elder aside, may do this. Babies just need some help. Aging up is useful to stop needing to care for Children, assuming that begins to bother you on a longer game. You may need this with Teen/Adult Sims on a longer game and find it's just too long for some Sims, while you're happy with it for others.

Sim Needs (Motives) in The Sims 4

The Hunger, Bladder, Hygiene, Social, Fun, and Energy Needs
Hunger, Bladder, Hygiene, Energy, Social, and Fun are Needs you must Manage

Sim Needs

There are six Needs, aka Motives, in The Sims 4 that will drain and put stressful Moodlets on your Sim when nearly depleted that prevent them from taking other actions. Although the game will alter you by coloring the Needs icon when a Sim's needs near low, you can view them at any time by pressing 'O' or clicking it in the bottom right. Only one type of Need being depleted will kill a Sim (starvation), but it takes a very long time. That is realistic. All others simply make it so that the Sim will not do many optional tasks, like painting or collecting something, until that Need is met. Their mood will grow worse and worse as time wears on. Clicking any of the need icons while on that interface will bring you the option to auto-solve that Need using surrounding objects. This is good for managing a larger family, but most players would be better off choosing what their Sim will do, in order to use their time efficiently.

Taking care of your Sims and keeping their Needs high will reward you with +1-2 Happy Moodlets, which is based on the Needs' average levels. Learning to manage time and get your Sim in a good mood while working on Skills, out on the town, or on the job are keys to "success" in the game. That is, if success is measured in terms of what your Sim can accomplish in their lifetime. The definition of success is ultimately based on what you find it to be, given The Sims 4 is an open game.

Needs Cheats

Because the developers removed the fillmotive cheats, the only way to do so now is to use testingcheats on and shift-click a Sim in order to 'Make Happy' and fill all their needs at once. You can also freeze their needs once full using disable need decay. This can be done for a household or the whole world by shift-clicking the mailbox.

Sims with high needs get a positive Happy Moodlet
Sims who have High Needs get a +1-2 Happy Moodlet


Energy is a need filled by Sleeping in a bed or napping on a sofa. Napping can be useful when not at home, but beds are better for this because of Energy gains. Energy drains gradually throughout the day, and more so when your Sim is tied up in an activity. Sims who are low on Energy will not do much at all outside of caring for Needs. This one should be top priority so that you have more to expend throughout the day.

Your Sims will gain more energy per hour while sleeping in a bed with a higher Energy rating, and beds have Stress relief ratings as well. If your Sim is to remain single, you should take advantage of single beds' lower price points. If you will eventually get into a Romantic Relationship, your Sim would be best to start with The Utopiate for $1390. Its Energy 5 is a good amount for the price. Beds with Energy 10 are 8k (single) and 12k (double). Note that Sims will not sleep with one another without some Romantic Relationship built up.

Your Sim feels no negative Emotions while asleep, and Sims don't have sleeping problems in The Sims 4. You can save an Angry or Embarrassed Sim from an Emotional Death by putting them to sleep. You should prioritize Energy over other Needs. The others will decay a bit while asleep, so it's best to Sleep then take care of Hunger, Bladder, and Hygiene last. Just don't go to bed with Bladder low and make your Sim wake up to pee on the floor!


Hunger is a need obviously satisfied by eating. Sims have several options here. When their tummies are full and they've had some rest, they are happier. A good meal can provide a boost to happiness via various Moodlets that come with eating food with fresh ingredients (fish or gardening) and even an upgraded refrigerator. The best for making Sims happy are normal, cooked meals (which also raise that skill), but those take time. You can have another Sim prepare your Sim's food. For single Sims, you can cook a group meal, then put the remaining servings in the refrigerator by clicking it or dragging. Then, the Sim can eat that as leftovers. Refrigerators have varying ability to keep food fresh, with the best able to hold leftovers for quite some time and keep them palatable. This is a very efficient way to take care of a Sim's hunger, even when you have groups of Sims. Why waste food, eh?

Quick meals like juice and milk are not very efficient, although Sims can multitask to a degree while drinking them. Chips, Yogurt, and Cereal are much better because the Sim will eat it fast. These fill about half the hunger bar, so are excellent when you are in a rush. However, the refrigerated meals (leftovers) are probably best, because they can bring a Sim much more satisfaction. Take care of Hunger (if low) after Energy, then go after Bladder, because eating depletes that Need faster than the normal decay.


This one requires no explanation. Sims can use the restroom while at work, and also use it at any time while at home even if they don't need to 'go'. I usually do this after a meal then shower if the Sim is around half so that they won't need to be interrupted by these natural Needs. If you didn't read it above, eating/drinking makes Bladder go down faster, as you would expect, so Bladder can come after eating if possible. Sims with a low Bladder will grow uncomfortable and eventually pee themselves, causing them to be Embarrassed for a time. Embarrassment is an emotion that, when becomes Mortified, can cause a Sim's death.


The Fun Need can be raised in a number of ways, from reading Books (really fun for Bookworms) to watching TV, playing Chess with another Sim, and computer games. There are plenty of options here, and some of them offer Sims to have Fun together while also filling the Social Need. Working Hard while on the job can reduce Fun a lot, so Sims who get home from work will typically have it depleted at least to a degree. This is a good need to fill the night before work, since it won't deplete much while a Sim sleeps. When Fun gets low, Sims get Tense. Having some Fun will ease that Tension and make the negative Moodlet go away.


Sims want to Socialize, whether they have Friends or not is up to you. But they need to talk at times. Low Social Need makes Sims Depressed, which is not a fatal Emotion but can be crippling to them and make them not want to do much. A phone call can raise this a bit, but is not very effective. Getting your Sim out of the house or inviting someone over, talking to a family member, and chatting on the Computer are all good options to raise Social. It can be taken care of very quickly, and doesn't decay very fast.


Hygiene is raised by showers, baths, and washing hands. Sims with low Hygiene will feel uncomfortable and icky, so get them into a shower so they can resume their day. The Shower is a good place to pick up a number of positive emotions - Inspired, Energized, and even Flirty. When I'm playing a Sim who benefits from these Emotions, I use the shower last so they get the Moodlet right before work or leveling a Skill. Taking a Bubble Bath can help a Sim become Playful, useful if a Comedian or Criminal.

Needs Tips

Juggling Needs for Better Performance
Taking care of these six Sim needs and getting them all high at once is important because it helps Sims be in a good mood, which raises Skills faster and helps them with Career performance. It even aids in them having higher success rates with Social Interactions, which helps make friends or find love. You should always check on your Sim's needs before taking on a task that will take several hours. They'll do better at it and not be interrupted by a low Need, putting them in a bad mood. An efficient routine on a fresh day with half needs would be to get sleep, have a meal, use the restroom, then shower. Have Fun and Socialize the night before the day out, whether your Sim earns money at home or on the job.

Body Fat and Muscle Mass

The Sims 4 uses a Calories system to simulate real-life weight gain. Muscles deteriorate as well. Follow the link to learn about what foods contain calories or see the video below.

Keys to a Successful Sim Life

Whims in Sims 4
Whims are means of earning Satisfaction in The Sims 4, along with Aspirations

Complete Whims
Whims are an important part of The Sims 4's gameplay and shouldn't be ignored unless you don't care about Rewards. A lot of the Satisfaction you need to purchase rewards will come from your Sim's Aspiration, but Whims will provide you more of this important currency. Whims are the little thought bubbles over your Sim's head in the bottom left. You can choose to either pursue or clear these by clicking the 'X'. The reward is noted, and Whim generation is based upon what Sims have been doing lately, along with Emotions. So, if you're pursuing painting, your Sim will get Whims related to that. The first Whim from the left is purely based on Mood and changes all the time. If your Sim is angry, they may want to rant at someone. Pursuing these little Whims may interrupt your Sim's day, but if you chase those that are related to what you're already doing, you will get loads of Satisfaction if you keep it up. Watch these and be sure to clear those unrelated to your goals, so that new ones that are relevant may be spawned. They do not take long to come up, so you will find something you want to do for that Satisfaction! Click here to learn more about Whims and Aspiration Switching.

Making Money

Money is essential to Sims, else their utilities will get shut off from an inability to pay the bills. The most typical way to make money in The Sims 4 is to pursue a Career and get promoted. However, some Skills will allow you to make money from home, such as Painting, Writing, Handiness (Woodworking), and Programming. Comedy is also a viable option. All of these Skills benefit from reward objects that come from Careers, which help Sims skill up faster and earn those Promotions. Learn about Careers and their potential income at top levels here and learn about Skills here. All Careers and Skills have Ideal Moods, so knowing how Emotions work can be helpful.

Find Friends, and maybe Love
This is entirely optional. Maybe you want to make a huge mansion and not bother with procreation or friendships. After all, Sims are able to be immortal whether aging is turned on or off. Having Sims' Friends and Lovers around, however, is a fun part of the game. Bringing Babies into the world and raising them to Children, sending them to school and seeing them successful can be rewarding for the player. Parties and such can be hilarious, thanks to Sims' animations and the variety of things they can do. All of these things can bring some extra depth to your gameplay and should be considered.


Study Rewards and their Effects
Knowing what Rewards to buy from the Store can help your gameplay immensely. Read our Guide to know ahead of time what they do, and pick carefully what you'll spend that hard-earned Satisfaction on! Those that help your Skills or reduce/eliminate Need decay like Steel Bladder are highly recommended!


Learn about Aspirations' Requirements and Bonus Traits
Because Aspirations can be switched at any time, knowing their objectives can be very handy. After all, you can pause and have a look at the list any time. When your Sim is not pursuing painting, but rather doing some Cooking or socializing, you can pick an Aspiration related to that, just be sure to switch back so you can chase your Reward Trait! This is a great way to get extra Satisfaction and, overall, more Reward Traits as your Sim ages.

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Share Tips and FAQs (47)

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1 2 > Last
Jaewon Seo
Does the guide say how to fill up all the needs?CoolSleepBlushHuh
I actually just added the cheats to do so today, before I'd even seen your comment. F5 it and you should see how to do individual needs, as well as the testingcheats method for filling all of them at once.
22nd July 2015 8:22am
How can I remove or clear their motives?
30th January 2016 5:29am
You will need to use a cheat to do that if you want it instantly but there are ways to remove negative moodlets which mostly involve using the mirror, taking a shower/bath or sleeping them off. Taking a bath with soaks (Spa Day Pack) will replace most moodlets with whatever the bath soak 'flavor' is.
sims.remove_all_buffs is the cheat to remove all moodlets
Guide to Cheats
30th January 2016 5:47pm
Ok so my game isnt letting me play with my sims. I click the play button, it loads, and when the loading screen fades im back at the pick a town thing. I tried restarting my computer, the game, and playing with other sims. Do you have any idea or clue of what I need to do to fix this?
23rd July 2015 1:53pm
I am thinking on just deleting the world and creating a new one. I would just move them into a small house at first so I can do a money cheat to go back to my origanal house. I would of course have to redo all of their asperations and skills, but thats easy. Im woried about their jobs to tell the truth. Not to metion that one of the sims isnt one that I made so after I put them back into the world there will be him and a younger him. So I would have to delete the younger one. What do you think?
23rd July 2015 2:47pm
So you get to the pick a town thing, does it let you pick that household at all? Sorry this is a day late to help, but the game is built with the idea that some players will play multiple households in the same town. Just clicking play is effectively loading the last-used save file and requires you to select the household afterward. This lets you choose to play any household in that save file. The fact that it got to world select tells me it is possible those Sims are there?
24th July 2015 3:29pm
I have had this same problem before many times, but I still haven't found a solution to it. Most of the time, I try restarting my game and stuff, but really, it just needs some time.
27th July 2015 12:32pm
Sorry it is SO late, but I recently had this horrible tragedy befall my game as well. The click on household->load screen->back to world screen. I had reinstalled my game and everything with no luck. I went to my sims4 file, looked at a file thag said last exception(it shows a mass of what files are conflicts in game), and read until I found what updated mods corrupted my game(they had corrupted my saves, which made it so I kept going back to world screen), and got rid of those mods. I also had to bite the bullet and delete my saves as well, but at least the household was saved in my gallery even if all their life has to be redone. Hope this helps all with this problem, and NEVER FORGET TO BACK UP THE ENTIRE SIMS 4 FILE SO YOU HAVE SOMETHING WORKING TO FALL BACK ON! Happy Simming. Smile
11th August 2015 2:54am
The entire life re-done? That's a tragedy! Couldn't you have saved an updated version using edit household?
30th December 2015 4:06pm
I was wondering, is there a cheat to bring a sim's needs DOWN? I'm trying to make my sims tired.Grin
13th August 2015 12:48pm
Type testingcheatsenabled true, then click a need, and drag it to the left
You can't actually drag needs like in TS3 so have a read through the Cheats Guide to help you.
20th February 2016 1:22pm
I've been looking for 2 days, trying to figure out what the point of having my sim text one of her friends? Also, can I decide the subject matter of what she is texting?
25th August 2015 7:08pm
If you have Get Together you can now txt when your sim is experiencing different emotions. The person your sim txt will invite your sim to do certain things depending on the emotion. So if your sim is energized they will get invited to a gym and so on.
14th January 2016 11:31pm
How do I change a sims apperance in mid-game??
24th October 2015 12:44pm
Use a mirror or dresser.
30th December 2015 4:08pm
my sims wont move
3rd November 2015 4:10am
If your sims won't move or are stuck, try these tips:

-- Reset the Sim:
resetsim [firstname lastname]

If the above doesn't work, and your sim or household is still stuck. Evict the household and then move them back in.

1. Go to manage world.
2. Evict current household.
3. Then move household back into their house.

-- Reset a Household:

Have them all travel to another lot, and then send them home. This should reset all family members.
* Use the M key for map, for fast travel.
13th January 2016 12:46am
when i play the sims, i have some very common mishaps. here are their solutions(no cheats):
a need not filling up- restart your game, right after saving and maybe making it a new save
being stuck in a location- restart your sim. carl has a guide for that, that doesnt involve cheats, that i reference. sadly, i dont know the link.
lag- the classic restart. in general, if your game has an issue, try saving and restarting your game. i use cheats when i storymode my sims, but when i do a live playthrough, to give them realistic lives, i try to use cheats as little as possible.

when i do use cheats for playthrough, they are the following build mode cheats:
bb.showhiddenobjects- this cheat shows hidden things that you obtain from a career or skill not shown in the normal build mode menu. these are things like private fishing holes, fishing rods, and satellites, along woth moodlet altering decor

bb.moveobjects- to move objects unlimited. this is excellent for landscaping, or if you want to make a changing table (to watch a build of changing tables, watch deligracy's barbie dreamhouse baby room reno. it doesnt describe how, but shows you.) you can also meld furniture to make fun lamps and put things closer to doors.

bb.ignoregameplayunlocksentitlement- this cheat opens up the items shown in the menu, that are locked by careers, for use. this involves the sloth pop art, hospital equipment(get to work expansion), and other things.

i would like to thank carl for giving me the elaborate guides to these, if you require more info, look at his cheat guide.
30th November 2015 8:05pm
I just got the sims 4 this christmas and Its really fun and very distinct from the sims 4Blush
26th December 2015 8:49am
umm how to you fill the the energy, food and more CryingHuh
4th January 2016 6:04pm
If you mean by cheats you type 'testingcheats on' then click on your sim and choose 'make happy'. This will fill all their needs back up. If you mean in game play eating food by cooking on a grill or oven, energy by sleeping or napping, social by talking to another sim in person or on the phone or PC, hygiene by showering or bathing, fun by doing an activity your sim finds fun, like watching TV or playing a computer game etc.
4th January 2016 8:05pm
First of all, I just wanted to say this page is amazing! It has helped me SO much Grin Now, I don't know if somewhere in this guide says something about how to control my sim's age? My sim was a yound adult and in literally 3 sim hours it became an elder. I was about to cry cause I just started playing this game. I looked up how to reverse it and I found out that by typing "Setage" and then hitting enter on the cheats bar it fixed the problem, only my sim is now and adult and I would love for it to be a young adult again. Help please? :)
18th January 2016 2:06pm
You probably need to change the sims age settings to long. See above for how many days each setting gives you. Smile
Options menu>Game Options>Gameplay and then a drop down menu 'Sims Lifespan'
18th January 2016 3:12pm
I havent tried it but there's this cheat in which you can edit sims back in Create-a-Sim mode. I think it was cas.fulleditmode, go and search for how it works. You might be able to change their age there.
3rd March 2016 12:58pm
The trouble with changing the age of a sim using that cheat is that it will wipe any aspiration reward traits but will leave the aspiration completed. This means that your newly aged sim will not be able to regain the reward traits as you can only complete an aspiration once. To date there doesn't seem to be a cheat to remove completed aspirations.
3rd March 2016 5:12pm
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