This Is the Best Time of Day to Host a First Birthday

published Jan 25, 2017
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(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

Planning a first birthday party is so fun — you get to pick cute decorations and make cake or cupcakes for a baby to smash in fits of delight! I often get asked what time of day is best for hosting birthday parties, as I’ve tried everything from morning to late evening parties for my two children, and I’ve come to a slightly surprising conclusion that works well for both babies turning 1 and most kids under 8 too. Here’s the best time of day to host a young kid’s party.

10 a.m. is the best time of day for a kids’ party.

When planning a first birthday, you’re up against a few scheduling issues. Most young guests, guest of honor included, have an early afternoon nap. Scheduling your party for noon or later might make you feel obligated to serve lunch and your little guests are going to arrive hungry and tired.

Hosting a first birthday party at 10 a.m. means that guests have had breakfast (hours ago) and aren’t expecting lunch, so you can serve light snacks, coffee, and cocktails alongside cake. It also means your baby is well-rested, as are your young guests.

Having older kids parties, say those from ages 1 to 8, at 10 a.m. means that your young kids and their friends aren’t waiting anxiously all day for the party to start. As a parent of a 5-year-old myself, sometimes the anxious anticipation of a super-fun party isn’t as annoying (“Mom, is it time for the party yet?”) as it is exhausting for my little ones. Plus, a party that wraps up around noon means that the rest of our Saturday or Sunday afternoon can include a nap or other family fun.

Quick Tips for Hosting a Kids’ Birthday Party

  • Literally any theme works (but especially pajamas). Superheroes still party in the morning, as do unicorns, mermaids, and trucks. Hosting at 10 a.m. doesn’t mean you’re obligated to a breakfast-themed party. But feel free to make breakfast foods — pancakes and doughnuts are fun themes — the center of the party and invite guests to come over in their pajamas.
  • Serve coffee for adults. Pick up a party pack from your local coffee shop (or hello, coffee drive-thru) and they’ll provide disposal cups, sugar packets, and half-and-half in the price.
  • Serve snacks. Even though a meal won’t be expected, it is generous to serve some snacks and accommodate the mid-morning mealtime. Yogurt, snack mix, bagels, fruit salad, and deviled eggs are easy and inexpensive snacks that can sit out at room temperature for a few hours but don’t require a table large enough for 12 kids to sit and eat.

Do you have any party-planning tips that seem unconventional, but really work?