Parents' Guide to

The Sims 4: Growing Together

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Expansion pack focuses on kids, their families, and growth.

The Sims 4: Growing Together shows a family outside with a father holding a baby in a backpack and a mom watching her daughter riding a bike.

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If families and kids are what interest you most about the Sims, this is the expansion pack for you. The Sims 4: Growing Together dives into the details of what family life is all about, centering it on the thing that tends to unify and drive families forward: Kids. Kids have long been a part of the Sims experience, but with this add-on they feel more realistic than ever, developing personality traits and quirks that make them feel like real children. They now have their own dreams and aspirations, such as becoming a playtime captain or creative genius, and their relationships with siblings, parents, and friends are more nuanced. Parents and caregiving Sims need to be mindful of infants' and toddlers' happiness and confidence, walking that fine line that lies between gentle scolding to teach valuable life lessons and being so authoritarian that you stamp out their independence and keep them from reaching their full potential as children and, later, adults. It's a tough job, made all the tougher as your Sims try to juggle career obligations, try to successfully socialize (a task made more challenging by the new social compatibility features), and deal with other family members exerting their own influence. But there's also loads of fun to be had with the little ones as you play with them in new ways as they learn to ride bikes, play in treehouses, get carried around in backpacks, and have slumber parties.

And there's a whole new world to explore, too. San Sequoia is a beautiful little burg, clearly modeled after coastal California towns. Exploring its neighborhoods is apt to make players a little envious of this idyllic setting, which is eco-minded and has loads of ways to enjoy nature, from jogging and playing in the park to socializing and doing puzzles at the local rec center. Even if you've put countless hours into The Sims 4 already, starting afresh in this new town and trying the new family-oriented features feels like a delightful next act in which past mistakes are washed away, giving you a chance to start over. The Sims 4: Growing Together fleshes out the game's family functionality, making EA's popular life simulator feel more authentic -- and more wholesome -- than ever before.

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