The best times to have a birthday party based on the birthday age.
1st Birthday Party
Best birthday time: 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm
The 1st birthday party will be one of the few birthday parties with kids of all ages, from friends with newborns to a family with kids in their teen years. With such a mix of ages, your guests are going to have a busy Saturday schedule with sports, teens working, and let’s face it, Saturday is their day to sleep in or tackle the honey-do-list.
A four-thirty start time allows you and your guest to have a productive Saturday. You will have plenty of time to make sure the birthday child has a nap, food is prepped (if not catering), and with a late start ensures that family and friend can attend. This particular milestone in your child’s life should be accompanied by all the special people in your life.
Three full hours will give you enough time to socialize, eat, have entertainment, take pictures, have cake, clean up after the smash cake, open presents, and when the party ends, have a Saturday evening to relax. Guests will leave your party feeling like that accomplished a lot and will be happy that they attended your child’s 1st birthday party.
2 to 3-year-old Birthday Party
Best birthday time: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
There is a big difference between a 1st and 2nd birthday party. The second and third birthday is about the kids. You have had a year to make new friends with kids your child’s age. A new group of friends equals more two and three-year-olds running around than the previous year. The first birthday party’s milestone has passed, and it now becomes more about the birthday child and the party.
As your child becomes older, the guest feels less obligated to attend a birthday party.
As your child becomes older, the guest feels less obligated to attend a child’s birthday party. You see parents with multiple children sending one parent with their youngest children to represent their family. Husbands will be tackling the honey-do-list or attending a sporting event with older children. Teens will disappear as attending a third birthday party is not as cool as a 1st birthday party.
Why the early start for a 2nd or 3rd Birthday?
Young child nap times change; many at this age are napping less. Therefore, you can take advantage of this by having the party earlier in the day. As a parent, I know firsthand it is easier to get a small child dress and out of the house first thing than waiting later in the day. The child is happy, attentive, and at their best behavior.
The early start is perfect for morning snacks as party treats, fresh fruit, cereal, or small finger sandwiches for the kids works nicely. For the adults, have a fresh cup of coffee or a morning mimosa to start the day.
The early start to the party allows the parents to attend the party and still have a Saturday afternoon. With the rest of their Saturday available, it gives parents a chance to accomplish the things they feel they have to do. If you make them choose between their schedule and your child’s birthday, they will pick their plans over yours.
5 to 7-year-old Birthday Party
Best birthday time: 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm
A later start for older kids works out great. Early sporting games, TV, gaming, and laziness become the battle to get these kids out the door. Parents are under stress first thing in the morning as they try to get kids ready for the day. Having a party early in the day adds to parent’s stress.
The three-thirty start time works great for parents with kids in sports as games typically end at that time. The kids will be hungry, active, and by this time, settled into the day’s activities.
Drop and Run
The dynamics of the party change once a child starts school. Because of this, children become accustomed to being drop off and pick up hours later. Parents walk the child to the door, ask, “What time do I need to pick them up?”. And then the parent is off. You now have fifteen to thirty kids to occupy. You’ll find two hours is perfect for entertainment, games, cake, and presents.
The benefit of a late start is kids at this age have multiple parties to attend. A later starting birthday party gives those with earlier parties to participate in making your child’s event. Over the years of entertaining, I noticed a pattern. If a parent needs to attend a party but has a second party to visit that they can drop and run, they will skip out early on the first party to drop the child off then do their Saturday routine. The parent is multitasking two parties and running errands at the same time.
8 to 12-year-old Birthday Party
Best birthday time: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Dropping and running off is now in full swing, as parents are just a taxi driver shuttling their kids off to another event. All sports are over at this time, dinner is just around the corner, and if you are going to the arcades, movies, or the local trampling jumping company, the kids are ready.
At this age, kids are independent and are more about hanging with their friends and having a good time. Older kids, grandparents, and relatives that never miss an event make up the rest of the birthday party.
To the birthday child, it is more about the adventure and less about the people who attend.