How Long Should A Kids’ Party Last?

by Ann Mifsud

how-long-should-a-kid's-party-last

The length to any kids’ party greatly depends on the age of the guests you are inviting.

Babies’ parties should not last more than an 1½ hours. The recommended length of a party for young children is 2 to 2½ hours. Celebrations for teenagers afford to be 3 hours long and even a bit more.

If you don’t want your party to end with a bunch of super stimulated, overtired or over-excited guests, we at easykidsparties.com have got you covered.

In this article we’ll be covering:

1. Recommended length of a kids’ party

When it comes to how long a kids’ party should last, there is a huge difference between what a one-year old can take, a toddler, an eight-year old and a pre-teen or teenager. Their tolerance levels are different, what excites them is different and how easily tired and whiny they can get is also different.

As a general rule, we propose the following tried-and-tested tips.

Kids Age

Recommended length of party

0 to 1-year olds

1 to 1½ hours

2 to 7-year olds

2 hours

8 to 10-year olds

2 to 2½ hours

11 to 12-year olds

2 ½ hours

Ages 13+

3 hours +

It is important to take into consideration the age of kids attending the party when planning how long the party should last.

Besides kids’ attention spans, as a parent, you know that the older kids grow, the more complicated their games usually become. Because their activities are more sophisticated, older kids also spend more time on a given activity than younger ones.

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Moreover, the number of games or activities prepared for a party for kids in the younger age groups, is generally less when compared to older children.

All these factors contribute to how long a kids’ party should last.

how-long-should-a-kid's-party-last

2. How to inform guests about how long the party is going to be

State clearly when the party is going to start and when it will end.

Always write beginning and end time of the party clearly on the invitation. Parents hate having to stay guessing. They feel deadlocked if they want to plan something after or in-between the party.

Plus, they would not know what to answer their kids when they ask them how long the party will be. If their answer happens to be longer than what it actually turns out to be, then they may have to face a very disappointed kid.

So make it easier on your guests and their parents, and write the time they are expected to be there and the time they are to leave.

Don’t lie about the starting time of the party.

Never lie about the time the party is going to start. I remember quite clearly the anger one mother stirred up in me when my eldest son and I turned up to a party on time, only to find none of the hosts there. No kid, no mother, no father, no one…but for a few other guests, who like us were wondering whether the party had been cancelled or worse still, something had happened to the party kid.

After about 20 minutes, the mother and birthday boy turned up, mother giggling and saying that she had done that on purpose so no one will be late for the event that was the highlight to the party, a laser tag game with a particular start and end time. Needless to say, very few of us smiled at her after having been left waiting, even though nobody said anything. And my son never went to any of this poor kid’s parties ever again!

If only the mother wrote the real time the event was to start and included the word “sharp” instead!

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3. How long should the party be if you’re inviting siblings of different ages?

First off, don’t feel obliged to invite your kid’s friends’ siblings. This is especially so if you are inviting kids in your son’s or daughter’s class whom you don’t know too well.

By comparision, when it comes to closer friends, then, you would probably feel comfortable inviting the whole family. In such cases where you have kids of different ages invited to the same party, we highly recommend you always play it safe.

When it comes to planning how long a mixed-age party should last, go for the shorter time suggested, or consider a time that is somewhere in between the given guidelines.

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Final thoughts on how long a kids’ party should last…

Never underestimate how a good and successful party can suddenly turn into a disaster, simply because it was 30 minutes longer than it should have been.

Age is key!

Think of kids’ threshold levels according to age and work by them. The younger they are, the more likely they are to get tired and over-stimulated if the party starts getting too long, no matter the variety of activities you would have carefully planned for them.

This may be the first party you are organizing for your kid and you sure want to get it right. We’ve given you tried-and-tested tips on how long a kid’s party should last depending on their age. We have also made this available for your in the format of a table, which makes it easier for you to look at and understand.

In this article we also shared our experience on how and why you should clearly inform your guests about how long your kid’s party is going to be. Moreover, you will find suggestions on how long a party should be if you’re inviting siblings of different ages.

We are confident that if you follow the guidelines above, you will be looking at a successful kids’ party. Happy planning!

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Hi I'm Ann

Hi I'm Ann

Mom to three kids, I am the proud co-founder of Easy Kids' Parties. After a career in journalism and education, I diverted my skills to creating this website, with the aim of helping all those parents out there who wish to organize amazing and memorable parties for their kids but feel overwhelmed at the idea.  Discover more...