Birthday Party Planning 101: How Long Should the Party Last?

Jan Scott November 8, 2022
How Long Shuuld the Party Last? - SavvyMom

This week I was working with a local mom’s group, teaching them the ropes of basic birthday party planning, and one of the items that was up for discussion was the question of ‘how long should the party last?’ There is not one perfect answer to this of course, but I provided a brief guideline based on personal experience.

Generally speaking, the younger the child the shorter the party, and I personally don’t feel that every friend from school needs to be invited to a birthday celebration, but I know that I may be in the minority with this viewpoint.

Here’s a quick look at the timing and guest count I suggested to these moms, based on the age of the birthday child…

Birthday Planning: How Long Should the Party Last?

Age: 1-2 years

Time of Day: After a nap
Duration: 1 hour
Number of Guests: Depends on the type of party. Parents are obviously invited and usually at this age it’s a family-focused celebration so use your best judgement for how many guests you think you can manage.

Age: 3-4

Time of Day: Mid-morning or late-afternoon
Duration: 1 ½ hours
Number of Guests: 4-6. Parties become more friend-focused at this age and I’ve always liked the idea of inviting the same number of kids as the age your child is turning.

Age: 5-6

Time of Day: Afternoon
Duration: 1 ½-2 hours
Number of Guests: 6-8

Age: 7-8

Time of Day: Early or late afternoon; early evening
Duration: 2 hours maximum
Number of Guests: 7-10

Age: 9-10

Time of Day: Late afternoon or early evening
Duration: 2-3 hours
Number of Guests: 10-12

What do you think? Do you agree with me? Do you approach parties differently? What is your favourite time of day to host a birthday party?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, what do you bring as a present for a child you’ve never met? Here are some gift ideas for kids you barely know.


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