Once a Toddler ages up (whether through time or whether because you manually gave the order), they will jump into child age.
The first screen we are presented with when Anna reaches the child age is this one...
We are to give Anna a Childhood Aspiration and one Trait. Her list of traits is not complete; some, like Romantic, wouldn't make sense, but most of the list is available.
Childhood aspirations are simplified versions of several normal Aspirations. All four are focused on building the children's skills, and can give the child a huge headstart on adult life if we plan ahead. For Anna National, we will have her focus on being a professional painter once she hits adulthood. As such, we'll give her the Artistic Prodigy aspiration.
Now that she's a child, the bassinet is no longer used. Christine uses Build Mode to place it into the family inventory, then outfits one of the two spare bedrooms with a child bed and an activity table. The activity table is usable only by children and will develop one of their skills. Christine also places an easel in Anna's room, but this is pointless; children cannot use most adult objects that increase skills. Maybe Christine does this just to inspire her?
Children who are born during the week get a full day before they have to show up to school, so Anna takes the day to draw some pictures and work on her skills.
Children use a different set of Skills than adults. Child skills are all temporary and will vanish when they age up, but their skills will give them a headstart on the normal skills. If Anna develops her artistic skills this early, she'll be able to blaze through the first few levels of Painting in very little time once she becomes a Teenager.
Children have only four skills: Creativity, Mental, Motor, and Social. They all have a maximum level of 10, but it's unlikely that you will be able to max all four before they grow up. However, specializing in one or two is advised, especially because adults can help them out. While Anna sketches on her activity table, Christine uses the “Encourage” social command on her, immediately giving her a huge boost and allowing Anna to quickly roll through her levels of Creativity.
Still, during childhood, remember that skills are less important than aspirations. If a child manages to finish her childhood aspiration, she will permanently gain an incredibly powerful Trait that cannot be activated any other way. For Anna, it would mean earning a trait that would significantly boost the gain rates of all adult creative skills, which would give her a huge boost to her future professional artistry career!
Unfortunately, children cannot spend their entire day learning skills or playing with friends. There is school to attend each day in the morning, and for all intents and purposes, it's their job. Anna even has a performance meter in her Career Panel.
Like with adult jobs, Anna's performance meter climbs if she goes to school, and it goes up further if she goes to school in the right mood and/or with her homework done. She can do homework while home by interacting with the yellow book in her personal inventory, and her parents can help her.
Or... she doesn't have to. Although school is important for kids who are aiming for mental skills later, getting on the honor roll is not necessarily a high priority. If Anna ignores her homework but still shows up to school in good moods, she'll often maintain a C average, possibly even a B average. It's partly about your priorities as the player. As with reality, your Sim kids will get out of school what they put into it: getting those high grades means a significant amount of micromanaging, which may be challenging with a large family. Christine still keeps a close eye on the meter though; she doesn't want it falling too far, which would cause Anna to start losing grades!
When Anna goes to school, she can slightly affect her performance with job strategies similar to her parents'. While at school, her little portrait gets an icon of two people. Click that, and we can change whether she slacks off, works hard, makes friends, or even skip.
Unlike in previous iterations of the franchise, telling Anna to make friends doesn't actually increase her relationships: it only affects her Social need, so that strategy would only be enacted if she goes to school feeling especially lonely. Kids never come back from school with friends, and any “friends” they make are not actually reflected as new contacts. In fact, even if we tell Anna to make friends on her first day of school, and even if her Social meter ends up being maxed out by the time she comes home, the only two people she'll know are her parents.
If Anna wants to be social, whether just for the sake of being social or if she wants to work on her Social Child Skill, she can go to the park or even just talk to strangers who walk by. The Sims 4 does not require babysitters or any other adult to be present on the lot, so she can stay home alone or travel freely if she wishes to make some friends.
The Sims 3 Guide to Children
Raising Kids: School, Homework, and Skills
Generations Additions: The Sims 3 Generations expansion pack brings many new features to childhood. If you want to read all about the new content for kids in the EP, have a look at Children in Generations. If your child had one as a toddler, they could be developing their Imaginary Friend.
This Sims 3 Guide was originally written for the PC and Mac versions of the game, but also will help owners of the console versions - PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. Please remember some info or numbers may have changed.
Done a Good Job Raising Them?
If you've followed the parenting guide thus far, and used many of our tips to raising kids, your Sim's child should have been able to choose a trait. In addition, when your child first learns a skill, they will jump up a level immediately if they had training in that skill as a toddler. As such, they can view the skill journal. For example, after playing with the peg toybox for a couple skill levels in the toddler stage, learning the logic skill will immediately start them at level 3 logic once they've grown to a child. This gives your child a head start in school. An odd thing occured the first time my Sim's child slept. She learned the writing skill in her sleep and jumped to level 2.
The Childhood Life Stage
The Sims 3's children are much more like adult Sims than Toddlers. They now have free will, and can learn to cook (but not actually perpare) meals, chat on the computer, learn almost any other skill, go to school, and make friends. You'll also be happy to notice that they can stay home alone. If they spend a bit more time studying, and have a little less fun than other Sim kids, they can shoot straight up any job's career path so long as they maintain this momentum into the teenage years. Here I'll help you with raising a child Sim that tries to excel in life.
Since children cannot cook or fix things, they can play with the little baker oven or genesis building blocks to raise the handiness and cooking skills interactively, while having fun. The skill journal tabs for those skills will appear when they're a teenager. They can learn all other Sims 3 skills the regular ways, aside from Charisma, Guitar, and Gardening. Teens can begin learning those skills. Children can work out with the stereo, television and pool, but an Athletic skill bar will not appear. This may however help them with future development once they age up to teenagers.
Choosing a Child's Lifetime Wish
Watch for lifetime wishes to appear in the wish panel occasionally. They don't pop up often. If you already have a general idea what you want your child's lifetime wish to be, start trying to develop an interest in that trade. For example, if your Sim wants to be a sports star, try to do some athletics (via Pool, Radio, or Television, a hidden skill until Teenager) to increase the odds that the lifetime wish will come up. Likewise for cooking, logic, fishing,and so on.
All children must attend school. Elementary school hours are from 9AM(8 bus) to 3PM. It's just like a career, except the performance meter tops out once your child has an 'A'. There really isn't much to that is different from playing an adult Sim. They will occasionally get school opportunities, such as doing a research project. Their wishes will also sometimes go toward getting on the honor roll for multiple weeks (just have an 'A' grade 3 days in a row).
Children should do their homework daily to boost school performance. If two kids are going to school at the same time, they may want to copy homework off of one another. Drag the homework to a table or other location, and the little cheater can copy the answers straight to their paper. The kid can get detention if caught, however.
Two Children can work together to get the homework done faster, and this doesn't count as cheating. At level 5 in logic, parents can tutor their child to help raise their school performance. Parents can also help kids with homework without fear of detention, as well. It sure beats getting caught cheating! To help, click the child's homework in their inventory. You'll then select which Sim will help them with the homework.
Raising them Well
Keep the kid's mood up, do homework, and have the occasional friend over and your child will do fine in life. I'll add that it's definitely worth it to buy toys like the dollhouse when it comes up, to earn the lifetime happiness points. In fact, childhood is a great time to rack up lifetime happiness and be able to purchase rewards very very early in life.
Give the Kid a Good Birthday!
Make your Child's last birthday as a kid a special one. They're about to grow up into teenagers with more responsibilities and a wide open world.