The Sims 3 Generations Daycare
Stevie Wonder's Daycare Center: "Your Kids Are Always Out of Sight!"
by Tom "Metro" Schlueter
With the Generations expansion, Sims 3 players can now pursue the new Daycare career by taking care of kids right out of their Sim's home. To get started in the profession pick up a newspaper or go to a computer - Jobs and Professions > Find a Profession > Amateur Babysitter. So, if you can't get enough of the Nooboos, then this profession is for you. I'm bringing back one of my perennial favorite Guide characters to show you the ropes, Stevie Wonder.
I thought about how I would approach this profession and it dawned on me that one week of prep work would make things infinitely easier on Stevie once he decided to open the doors-or whatever it was that Stevie reached for and thought was a door.
Ambitious: My all-time favorite Sims 3 trait. And if you have desires to run a successful Daycare Center, yet can't see 2 feet in front of you, then being Ambitious helps immensely.
Friendly: Friendships with Kids is one of the 3 profession metrics and building lots of Charisma and friendships prior to Stevie's first work day was a huge part of my strategy. When the kids are carried through the door and are instantly friends with the care-taker...well, even a blind person can see the logic in that.
Charismatic: Same deal as Friendly. One week of intense Charisma and friendship building pre-opening day. Accomplishing several Charisma challenges is pure gold to win the kids over without lifting a finger.
Nurturing: A new trait with Generations and a must for any Daycare professional. Nurturing Sims are much better with their interactions with kids and teens - in other words, better results which will positively impact the relationship level which then results in more XP to get you closer to the next level and more money. It's a dirty diaper circle of life, Simba.
Artistic: The 4 traits above never changed for Stevie, but the 5th one ended up being somewhat of a revolving door. I started with Artistic for the first week (pre-opening). Along with building Charisma before Stevie officially started the Daycare profession, I wanted him to earn some money in painting so the necessary resources would be available to build a sweet daycare room with plenty of nice objects. Having some Masterpieces hung around the daycare areas would help with kids' moods too. Once Stevie Mastered painting and had the necessary happiness points I gave him a Mid-Life Crisis and switched the Artistic trait to...
Neat: Not exactly a "power trait" but Neat Sims naturally clean up their surroundings which makes gameplay easier without having to tell them to pick up this toy or clean that counter. The only problem with Stevie is he doesn't know whether he's picking up a toy rocket or putting his hand in the business end of a dirty diaper. But, after 3 weeks of playing Stevie it dawned on me that Neat just does not bring much to the craft table. Not nearly as much as...
Childish: I have no idea why I did not think of this from the get-go, but if Stevie could actually play with the kids at the dollhouse it would help their social needs. So, I gave him another Mid-Life Crisis. "Who wants to play dollhouse with me? Is this the dollhouse or the foosball table?"
Evil: Evil Sims might find enjoyment in children's screams. This might be a good profession for Evil Sims too.
Lifetime Wish: There is no Daycare profession Lifetime Wish, so given my initial strategy of one week of friendship preparation, Super Popular just made super sense for Stevie.
I plopped Stevie down at 99 Landgraab Ave in Sunset Valley. I like this lot and have used it in many Tournament challenges. It's cheap ($1800) and centrally located.
I'll be the first to admit I am not a builder, so I went right to the Beginner Homebuilding Guide article by Tom Thigpen and copied his Cheapskate model for Stevie's house. The only thing I did different at the outset was opt for some nicer objects: the bed, shower, stove and fridge are all top notch. To save some money I left off what would eventually be the large daycare room to the right of the kitchen. Ssshhh...don't tell Stevie it's not there yet. I also made the kitchen area larger than the Cheapskate design because once you reach a certain level in the daycare career, you'll be eligible to take care of elementary school aged children and there needs to be plenty of space for them to do homework. You can also have pathfinding issues in the first room parents walk in if there is not plenty of space.
For now, the first week of play, it's time to start painting to bring in more money-Stevie only has $1278 left and that will not build the gonzo Superstitious room that Stevie Wonder Daycare Centers are now known for. Once Stevie has enough happiness points, I'll purchase the Prepared Traveler reward so he can take a 6-day vacation to China to a) swipe the Base Camp books for a little more money, and b) to max Charisma. The target opening date is Week 2, Day 2. Lots to do before then, so let's get crackin'. That's the fridge, Stevie. The easel is this way...
After almost a week of painting, Stevie had a nice mix of some Brilliants and Masterpieces to decorate the walls...and a nice stack of simoleans to boot...
It was now Sunday, Week 2, Day 1. Stevie reads the morning paper (yeah, I said it) and a Daycare career ad catches his eye. So, he signs up. Opening day for his daycare center is the very next day. Time to head off to China for a 6-day vacation to max Charisma. Stevie did not end up needing to stay all 6 days. He stayed about 4 and got bored (okay, I got bored). So, he returned to Sunset Valley and completed the key Charisma challenges the last day before starting his Daycare career.
Daycare Profession Information
Level 1. Amateur Babysitter. 2 kids. Weekly Stipend. $120*
Level 2. Cool Care-Giver. 3 kids. Weekly Stipend = $240*
Level 3. Daycare Dynamo. 4 kids. Weekly Stipend = $360*
Level 4. Good Guardian. 5 kids. Weekly Stipend = $480*
Level 5. Daycare Specialist. 6 kids. Weekly Stipend = $600*
Days/Hours for all Daycare Career Levels = Monday through Thursday, 9 am - 7 pm.
*Stipend amounts are based on the 20% bonus from the Profession Simolean Booster reward. You definitely want to grab that reward asap. I'd say that one is more important than Entrepreneurial Mindset. That reward will boost your XP a bit, so you'd hit the 5th career level a little faster, but maybe a day or two earlier, whereas the Booster will be making you 20% more money per child from day 1. In addition to the Weekly Stipend, daycare providers earn a flat rate per child/per day of $120. That figure is also based on having the Profession reward and never increases throughout the career. But, you will see bonuses if your Sim needs to put in overtime with a child.
Responsibilities (all Levels):
General Daycare Take care of the Toddlers/Children. I guess Stevie needs a reminder that he can't go off to the recording studio and leave the youngsters to fend for themselves. "Be right back, kids. I'm off to cut an album."
Friendship with Kids Again, this is why I spent a few days on Charisma at the end of week 1. When the kids show up - instant Best Friend.
Handle Emergencies The description says "deal with daycare emergencies for clients as they come." At first, I was thinking...emergencies? What emergencies? "Oops, sorry Stevie, is everybody okay? I'll have the brakes checked out on my Excursion first thing tomorrow." No, it has to do with clients calling you on short notice to watch little Billy and Suzy on off hours - i.e. Fridays or weekends or also later during the week.
After selling all the China Base Camp books and with the money gained from nearly a week of painting I sunk about $25k into the daycare room below. It will be a while before Stevie is eligible to care for older children, but nice items like the foosball table (whoops, teen only) and the arcade game are ready and waiting. The wall pattern is similar to a Twister game mat and accordingly, it carries a warning from the manufacturer: "Staring at these patterns for more than 2 minutes may result in sneezing, blurred vision and explosive bowels."
You'll notice no potty chairs or cribs in Stevie's gonzo daycare room. Here's the deal with that- EA waved their magic wand and did some fancy schmancy coding so that daycare providers would not need to worry about tired kids. Or maybe it's that the parents all load them up with Red Bull before arriving. Whatever the reason, kids that are dropped off are wired. And you might as well forget about potty-training the kids because they'll never make it to the potty chairs - remember the explosive bowels issue? One second they're clean and dry and the next second they become swamp thing at Three Mile Island.
So, Stevie is all ready. Let's wish him well (praying might be appropriate) in hopes he does not walk into a wall in front of clients the first day.
It's go time. The first two kids are dropped off on Day 1. There's a built in mechanic to discover a kid's needs that very helpful - just mouse over a child and you'll see a description and if there are any pressing needs. Both boys are in a good mood, but Herbert (on the right) is lonely. There's quite a few options to raise some social for Herbert - Tickle, Toss in Air, Attack with the Claw (think Liar, Liar and Jim Carrey) and Snuggle. Of course, another real option for Stevie is to do nothing but stay put and continue daydreaming of the women currently occupying his thoughts.
Again with the explosive bowels. How long do you think it took Stevie to walk from the daycare room to get to Herbert to pick him up? Sheesh. Are all of these parents feeding their kids Ex-Lax before leaving their homes? They always say that people with disabilities compensate with heightened other senses. That's unfortunate for Stevie "the blind bloodhound" Wonder.
You may be asking yourself, "So, where do these kids come from?" They're basically spawned when needed. No different than if you had a maid, fired her, and then called for maid service again - one would be spawned for the next day's work. You'll recognize that some of the kids are spawned with existing townie families, but who knows where some of the daycare kids come from? Not only will the names not be familiar, but the game will also spawn various adults that drop off and pick up the kids, so you'll see quite a revolving door of adults that come to your house. It's kind of amusing. If you go straight in on a new game in The Sims 3, your day care clients will be more likely to be recognizable townies.
Back to Stevie. Make sure your caretaker's needs are completely green at the start of the work day - 9 am. Backtrack about 3 hours for your wake up time and shower, eat, use the toilet (you don't want to have to spin yourself in the air to change an adult diaper) and cap the fun bar off at the end with something very effective and quick - like Woo Hoo or the Sim Goggles. Putting a fridge, table and chair right in the daycare room isn't a bad idea if you need to quickly ward off hunger - but just grab juice. You never know when explosive bowel syndrome will hit the room again.
Speaking of filling the tummy, feeding the kids will pump the relationship with the care-giver significantly more than simple things like Attack with the Claw. You will likely see the smiley face after giving a kid a bottle from Feed on Floor or Feed in High Chair. If kids are nearly unconscious from lack of food it doesn't matter if you walk in the room with underwear on your head. Just ask my own kids. But, man oh man...as soon as I put some food on table, all of a sudden they like me again. Go figure.
It didn't take long for Stevie to become Best Friends with both boys. Here's a tip from Stevie's upcoming book "Can You Please Come Pick Up Your Kid Now?" - chain those queues together. Don't change one kid's diaper, put him down, then go to the next, then back to the other to feed because you'll be spending half your day simply walking and picking up and putting down the kids. Do a bunch of stuff at once - even if they don't need something immediately. Throw everything at them and then go to the next kid. But, do diaper changing and feeding at the end of your queues and begin with the socials.
The ideal goal is to mouse over the kids and see all pink letters - that means that [Sim x] is in a great mood and [Sim x] has no problems that need to be addressed at the moment. Kind of sounds dry and impersonal - like a corporate employee evaluation, but nevertheless, that's the situation you want - you want to see those pink letters and then move on to any child that is not at that state.
When the parents start showing up around 6:45-ish pm to pick up their children pause the game and take a look at the information panel in the top right. You'll see a message titled Daycare End of Day Report. "Great" is as good as it gets for an individual child. It's not too difficult to consistently get Great reports with only 2 or 3 kids. But, once you get to 4 kids (Level 3) it's decidedly more difficult to get solid Great ratings. But, you really want the Great rating because you'll earn more XP for the day than with a Good or an OK rating. And (this is a hunch) your chances of bonuses and a parent calling on your for extra work would naturally increase with those Great ratings.
Once Stevie hit Level 3 and had 4 children in his care I decided to spend 25k happiness points for the new Generations reward, Super Nanny. I'm banking on the fact that it's a sound investment once you get mid-career and your juggling skills are taxed quite a bit with additional children to care for. Once you advance to later career levels you have the opportunity to take care of older school-aged children and which then brings additional challenges if they turn out to be "problem children." The Super Nanny reward is supposed to make things a bit smoother with those kids, so hey...why not if you have the points available? When a Super Nanny talks to and disciplines these children the results should be more positive resulting in better relationships. Even without it, a problem child can eventually be cured by being nurtured at your Daycare. The best way to handle problem children in your Daycare is to keep them busy, as their free will leads them to destroy things.
Here's an important tip to implement before day 1: Drop off and pick up time can be hectic and create bottlenecks. Put in double doors for the main entrance to your house as well as remove several sections of wall for the entrance to the actual daycare room. That should keep the infamous pathfinding bubbles at bay.
Don't be surprised if you get quite attached to your little friends and wonder what the heck your Sim is supposed to do on the weekend. To go from a Thursday at 7 pm until the following Monday at 9 am is quite a stretch without your Sim having any specific things on the agenda. That's why career level 3 is a big milestone because that level triggers the opportunity for your Sim to watch children on the weekends. That's the perfect time to teach kids some skills like talking, walking, or reading a skill book to them. Of course, you can do all of these things during normal weekday business hours, but with more kids around all tugging at you to attend to their needs, good luck in teaching skills at those times.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving. One of the new social interactions with Generations is Give Gift. Just place the item in your family inventory and you're good to go. Click on the intended recipient and select Give Gift and you'll have the option of selecting what's in your inventory. "Johnny, tell our contestant what's in the box." "Indeed I will, Bob...it's a new Festus 44 stove!"
Speaking of gifts, around mid-career (level 3-4) you'll start receiving gifts from parents. It's the same game mechanic as getting freebies for being a celebrity although the celebrity ones just magically appear day or night, the parent ones come when the mail is delivered. If you don't like an item gifted to you by a parent, just gift it right back to them and pretend you went out and bought it.
At level 4 Stevie now took care of 5 kids and was given the "Go Play" social interaction (that's daycare code for "Get out of my face, kid.") At this career level grade school kids started showing up at 3 pm. Your best plan of attack is to top of the needs tanks of the toddlers around 1-2 pm so you can be available to the older ones when they show up. The grade school kids will typically come in and automatically do their homework. That's good. But, I recommend you calling the older kids to a group meal as soon as they're done with their homework to ward off hunger and then calling them over to join you watching TV or some other group fun activity. The Daycare-only Fairy Tale interaction can be helpful for keeping the kids occupied and passing the time. It's tougher to get Great ratings on the older ones because they're only at your center for 4 hours.
Around the same time as Stevie attaining the 4th career level he had his Adult birthday. He's been doing great and I decided to give him a nice present to reward him for all of his hard work - one of the nice cars from the Fast Lane stuff pack. Coincidentally, Stevie received a wish to teach a former child that attended the daycare center how to drive. So, Stevie invited Sierra Ursine over on a Saturday to help her out. It's yet another new Generations social interaction and the animation is quite amusing to watch with the stopping and starting that all teens do when they learn to drive. Really funny stuff. The Sunset Valley police department was informed and shut down all streets. The Mayor looked upon this act of goodwill by Stevie in a similar fashion as a school code red lockdown.
Success! Stevie taught Sierra how to drive and bagged just over 2k happiness points for completing that wish. He dropped her off at her house and happily cruised right back to the daycare center to get ready for the next day...
Stevie finally made it to the top of the Daycare career on Week 4, Day 5 and now had 6 children under his care. So, it's plenty of work, fellow Nooboo lovers. It's definitely going to take more time than other careers/professions. Now you get some idea of why EA wisely chose this career to have only 5 levels. If it were 10 levels, by the time you would hit the career cap, the human race would have evolved into a new lifeform. Good call, EA. Other perks for hitting the cap? 2 more social interactions - "Joys of Children" and "Admonish Child." Admonish Child fits right in with the fact that you now have a chance of receiving a problem child.
Stevie finally got his first weekend opportunity to care for a child - when these come up you'll see the play freeze, the screen get dark and a message in the middle - identical to a birthday announcement. Here was the exact message: "With a hurried voice and apologetic tone, Tim Ogden has asked Stevie Wonder if he could watch his little Willie Ogden tomorrow (a weekend day). Apparently, he has some important plans that just came up." Stevie politely responded: "Important plans? Yeah, right. Pfft. Bring that twerp over and let's be done with it."
Oh, and how could I forget about the minivan? Stevie takes his new Minivan received as a reward for maxing the daycare career out for a spin. Hey, Stevie, check that left rear tire...it looks pretty low." And what's up with those window shades? They look more like non-slip bathtub mats. Congratulations, Stevie Wonder!
Taya wrote to tell me that she had found a great way to keep kids busy and meet multiple needs. The blocks table is perfect for the little ones, who will socialize while playing if they've learned to talk.