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

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. I realize 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.


1 Comment

  1. Momma Bear on January 29, 2024 at 1:53 am

    I have 4 kids.
    We did parties inviting families for years.
    The kids would get to pick 2-3 families +relatives.
    We also did years (I tried to stick with what we were doing for a year)
    With separate family and friends parties.
    I’ve combined kids.
    We have had 4-50 guests!
    My kids range from high school to early elementary.
    This year, I decided, they get to pick 7-8 friends to come over.
    One of my kids does his family celebration combined with his Uncle.
    We even had fireworks a few times.
    And had 2 driveby parties during COVID.
    All were fun
    But smaller is becoming better for us.
    It’s hard to choose something, but, the economy sucks , so we have to limit.
    Also, at some point it’s ok for kids to realize that it’s ok to have some kids that are closer than others. That’s just how life works.

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