Carl's Sims 3 Guide - Skills, Traits, Careers, Rewards, and Lifetime Wishes for Ambitions and World Adventures

The Sims 3 Aging and Lifespan Guide

Stages in The Sim Lifecycle, Settings, and Aging Down or Up

Related Links
Get More Sims 3 Information
Modify the aging settings to alter the lifecycle and determine when your Sims age up

The Sims 3 features an aging system not unlike that of reality. Sims go through various states from baby, on to todder, childhood, through the teenage years, and finally young adulthood. They will age up into full adults, and finally into their Elder years. The life cycle comes to a close there, as that Sim will die of old age. We have an incredible amount of power over the aging process with The Sims 3's options menu, and gameplay offers us a few options to age Sims up, down, and even freeze them. The options available to you depend upon what expansion packs you own.


The following are the life span for each age group. This is fully customizable from the options menu.

Baby: 3 days
Toddlery: 7 days
Child: 7 days
Teenager: 14 days
Young Adult: 21 days
Adult: 21 days
Elder: 17 days

Elders don't die immediately, and may live longer than the 17 days. Some may last weeks past their expiration date, just like humans.

Modifying Aging

Adjusting Settings for Life Length
We are given the ability to set how long Sims will stay in each life state. This can go from short, medium, normal, long, to epic life span. You can shorten or extend any life stage by going to the The Sims 3's options menu (clicking ... in the bottom left) and using the sliders in the game menu. You can also disable aging entirely from this location. This is the most basic option but most powerful method of changing the aging settings. Let's now focus on the options given to us by gameplay.

Become Athletic for Longer Life
Sims who have run for many miles will naturally live a longer life. Complete Athletic skill challenges to get this perk.

Ambrosia and Life Fruit
Ambrosia is made with the cooking skill and will reset a Sim's age to the beginning of their current life state. This is available to all players but requires high cooking skill, fishing, and some gardening. One Sim doesn't have to do all of this. Others can gather the ingredients for the chef. Learn more about Ambrosia at the linked guide. It can also bring the dead back to life when fed to a ghost. Life fruit will shave a day off your Sim's age, so you may not need to go so far as to make Ambrosia. Ambrosia gives an amazing moodlet, however.

Birthday Cake
Another option available to all Sims 3 owners. You can advance the ages of your Sims by using the birthday cake. Find this in the parties section of 'Buy by function' in Buy Mode. This magical item will age up Sims to the next state. Use this if you'd like to skip earlier stages of life. Remember, if your Sim's children don't perform well you will not get to choose their traits as they age up.

Aging Up - Trigger Age Transition Cheat
Look to the cheats page to learn more about this. You need to enable testingcheatsenabled true, then shift-click your Sims. That will allow you to select trigger age transition, among other things. This isn't necessarily faster than birthday cake, but it's an instant birthday/age up if you are already cheating.

Aging Down - Young Again
The Sims 3 Generations adds several new options for manipulating age. The first is the young again potion, which will reset any Sim back to day one of being a Young Adult. This is available as a potion made from chemistry (logic skill) as well.

Locking Age - Age Freeze
Taking this potion new to Generations will freeze a Sim's current age. Everyone around will grow older, but this Sim will stay the same. Grab a death flower for true immortality.

Rediscovery Youth Through Cloning
One of the new Lifetime Rewards with Generations is the ability to buy a clone voucher. This will produce an offspring for your Sim that is effectively them as a child.

Back to The Sims 3 Articles

Share Tips and FAQs (20)

Our Sims Forum is the place to go for faster answers to questions and discussions about the game. Use the form below to share your own experiences and provide helpful tips to other readers.

blabla says...
I have sims 3 pets expansion pack...I tried everything to change ageing settings and it changes but every time I go on sims again it is the same like I didn`t change the settings.......I save it and everything but it`s like I didn`t change it.....sorry for the gramatical mistakes but I don`t speak english very well
14th April 2014 2:01pm
ida says...
I have the same problem,any body can help me please????
18th October 2015 12:23pm
Serena says...
I MUST know if age settings are set PER TOWN. Could I have aging enabled on one town, and off on another?
28th May 2013 1:14pm
SCS says...
I am wondering the same thing.
The only settings that are per town are seasons.  All other settings are for every file in a Sims 3 folder.   You can have multiple Sims 3 folders with different settings as explained on our forum regarding factory resets.   It's a lot of work some times to remember to rename the folder you want to play in to Sims 3 but it's worth it to never have the wrong settings active when loading up a game.

For more info on factory resets go here,7507.msg153945.html#msg153945
5th June 2013 1:01pm
Mollie says...
Me again. I just want to let you it's all fine now. I killed her off. Yep... I'm a murderer. I killed a kid in my game. Feels like I'm grieving in real life! Weird. Hah. Thank you anyway.
21st July 2013 8:29pm
Jessie says...
I have the short life cycle it says their bday is in 2 days and 2 days past and nothing i have weeks with two days and their bday dont comr
21st April 2014 8:12pm
Me says...
I have a sim who is aging more than one day er 24 hours in game. Can anyone help me with this issue?
14th December 2013 9:56pm
Jasmine says...
Does the young again potion work on ghosts? I've been wondering this fr a while and I don't want to kill my sims.
1st July 2014 8:08pm
Megan says...
Late reply, but yes it does.
27th July 2014 1:10am
Mollie says...
I'm currently having a problem with one of my sims. Shes not growing! I have two adults who have had a set of twins, a set of triplet, and just given birth to one more. I made the twins grow up to young adults (they were already teens), and one on its own into a toddler. Then I decided to have my triplets as teenagers (they were kids), but only two have grown into teenagers and the other one just isn't growing at all! I've had her have six birthdays already, and even tried chats to trigger her age, but nothing is happening! What should I do?! I don't fancy starting all over again.
Also, she isn't showing up on my pick a town menu. And I've only got one town.
And the game is starting to lag. Especially at the beginning when it powers up. What's happening? The game was never really fast, always a bit sticky, but now it's taking the biscuit! Any help would be much appreciated.
Is the third one a werewolf or is she under some type of moodlet from the mood lamp? 

Can you control her?
21st July 2013 11:42am
wsim says...
21st September 2015 11:33am
Kara says...
I have been trying to get this answer since I started playing Sims 3. Is there anyone to turn off aging for the rest of the tow while your houeshold still ages? Like in Sims 1 and 2 in which just the household you're playing at the time ages?
4th January 2018 3:51pm
Playalot says...
No aging is either on of off. You can have aging on and then keep your sims the same age through various perks etc though.
Lifetime Rewards:
More ways to keep your sim young:
10th January 2018 8:49pm
Berkulese says...
I think there is a game setting somewhere entitled "disable story mode for non-active household" or something, never used it personally but I think that might be what you're after
14th June 2018 1:57pm
Erika says...
When aging is off, do the people in the town still age?
19th February 2019 3:25pm
Playalot says...
20th February 2019 2:13pm
Renae says...
Hello, this is for the Sims 4, but I figured the answer would be, if not identical, similar. If you keep a sim at the teenager stage with aging disabled, do they continue to go to school until you make them age to a young adult? Or do they stop going to school after a certain amount of days?
4th January 2020 10:11pm
Playalot says...
We have a whole guide for TS4 but yes, teen sims even with aging off will continue to go to high school until they become a YA
5th January 2020 3:54pm
Argagax says...
I had the strangest thing happen.
Just reinstalled the game on a new computer, moved all the saves, it went smoothly.

Then in my active family, my two teenage girls (twins) suddenly had their birthday, four days early, on the first day of playing.
No matter what I did, I could not stop this, I had to resort to moveobjects, removing them, switching households, then using testingcheatsenabled to age them back down to teens (they didn't have the birthday "event" but still turned into adults).

Then, a puppy I adopted AFTER the game was reinstalled, suddenly grew up, late at night, with no warning, with two days still on her age-meter.
You can't revert a dog back to a puppy through testingcheatsenabled.

What is going on?
10th August 2020 3:16pm
Playalot says...
No idea! It might be a good idea to do a Factory Reset tho: links on how to do that here:
12th August 2020 9:44pm
Page 1 of 1

Join In

Remember my name and email for future contributions.

Jump to Top

Disclaimer: - This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with Electronic Arts, or its licensors. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The Sims and The Sims 3 Logo are trademarks of Electronic Arts, Inc. Game content and materials copyright Electronic Arts Inc. and its licensors. All Rights Reserved. All original material on this site © Carl's Guides.
  • Search our Sims 3 Site
  • Carl's Sims 3 Site News

  • Sunset Valley 2020

Inspired by Naga's improved Sunset Valley, Jaga Telesin and MrsFlynn have released Sunset Valley 2020 at our forum. This uses fixes from EllaCharmed's Sunset Valley map and works to improve performance and reduce the amount of stuck Sims. You'll find many of the lot types already installed and many new faces living in town.

There are both Vanilla and Chocolate versions to download. You can Learn More Here.

  • Youtube Channel

Subscribe to my Youtube Channel I've launched a Youtube Channel for The Sims. For now, I'm only covering 4 but I know many people play both games and may be unaware I'm now producing videos for the series. Hopefully this is a long term thing!

  • Latest Sims 4 News & Guides

10+ Mods That Add or Improve Gameplay in The Sims 4
Spells List Updated & Info on Charge
Around the World of Glimmerbrook
Sims 4 Realm of Magic is Available Now. Here’s My Opinion On the Pack
The Sims 4 Realm of Magic Features Deep-Dive
Tutorial: Using The Sims 4’s New Stair Customization Tool
New Staircase Tool – Sims 4 Maxis Monthly Livestream Recap
Feeding Sims and How to Best Manage Hunger During Pregnancy
Upcoming Sims News & 10 Years in The Game
How Useful Is Fruitcake?

  • Sims 4 Guide Development

I'm now working on my site for The Sims 4. Here are some of the Packs available:
Get to Work
Outdoor Retreat
Spa Day
Dine Out
Kids Room Stuff
Retail (GTW/Open for Business)
The Sims 4 Cheats

Other Guides
Carl's Guides
Civ 5
Stardew Valley

  • Sims 3 Expansion Packs

Our site has loads of information on Expansion Packs for Sims 3. You can learn about features, read strategy guides, and maybe even decide if they are right for you:
Sims 3 Ambitions
Sims 3 Generations
Sims 3 Into the Future
Sims 3 Island Paradise
Sims 3 Late Night
Sims 3 Pets
Sims 3 Seasons
Sims 3 Showtime
Sims 3 Supernatural
Sims 3 University Life
Sims 3 World Adventures

shopify analytics ecommerce