5 Year Old Birthday Party Questions

Updated on April 22, 2014
S.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
11 answers

My son is turning 5 and I'm planning on doing a Chuck E Cheese party. Since I've never planned a kids bday party before, I'd appreciate some help! My questions:

- what is the optimal time to invite his preschool classmates. i feel like too early will make them forget and too late would mean they already have plans. (i don't have everyone's email addresses so it has to be paper invites)

- what is the optimal time for the party (i.e. most convenient time for attendees) On Saturday or Sunday? AM or PM?

- Do people really RSVP and stick to their response?


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answers from Portland on

My daughter just gave a bd party for her 3 yo. She hired a wonderful clown and talked it up with the parents many of who said they'd bring their children. All of the parents are friends of my daughter. The party was geared toward grade school kids; not just preschoolers. Only one family came and she is a close friend. My 10 and 13 yo grandchildren had a great time so did the adults. I feel sad and irritated that people respond to kids' bd parties so casually.

I keep hearing on this site that often parents don't respond to an RSVP or don't show up. Because my daughter talked personally to the parents I expect a larger attendance. I don't know of anyway to get past the RSVP problem. Mom's on this site have tried sending invites early (a month in advance) and later. They've tried paper, Internet and personal invites as well as timely phone calls. Perhaps someone will find a way to get RSVPs that work.

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answers from Boston on

I have a 4 and 5 year old and love the 12-2 Sat. time frame, but would never turn down an invite based on time. 12-2 usually includes lunch and cake, and my kids are usually at their best during this time frame. 2-4 is pushing it a bit but still doable, cake only is usually served. I'd say 2 weeks to 10 days is a fair amount of time for handing out invites. I've always RSVP'd and vice versa, but we'll see what happens this year...my son is attending a new school with new friends so we'll see!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

With food being served you'll need to do it at meal time.

I'd do it on Saturday around 11 or 11:30am until about 1. Any longer and they'll be out of tokens and bugging you for more and more and more and more. If you don't want to spend hundreds on this party then make it shorter than 2 hours.

The kids will eat pizza and drinks then go play. When the party is almost over, or winding down, you gather them all back and open the gifts. Then it's off with their parents.



answers from Chicago on

chuckie cheese is one of those places that kids love to go. I would send the invites out at least 2 weeks ahead of time. and ask the parents to rsvp. when they do rsvp ask them for their email address. that way you can send out a "we are looking forward to seeing you at "x"'s birthday party on saturday. I like the either 10-12 or 12-2 time slot. no earlier its too early for pizza no later kids are crabby and parents have stuff to do. no sunday party's we never say yes to those. sunday is family day.



answers from Des Moines on

It really depends on where you live, as when I lived in AZ, it seldom received an RSVP. Now in IA, I get everyone to RSVP. I try for about 2 weeks out, giving them an RSVP by date for a few days before.

I always have my parties early afternoon on Sunday. Saturdays are too filled up with sports. And this is after most Church services/activities.

Not that you asked...but I despise Chuck E Cheese parties. I don't feel it is safe enough to leave my children there with the party, and I want to poke my eyes out being in there for a party. Expect to pay for the parents to eat or drink there, because they should not be dropping off their 5 year old at such a crowded public place. And be prepared to pay for kids that don't show. I would also ask when the least busy party time is, and stick with that. Also, think about how hard it is for your child to have any real quality time with the children you invite as all the kids are scattered doing their own thing...in a crowd of a hundred more kids. My kids leave saying they didn't get to sit next to/see/play with the birthday child. It is so loud and busy at times there, you can't even find places for the parents to sit close to the birthday table, which has barely any room for the kids to sit. Sorry, but those are my few experiences going to a CEC party. There are SO many other options :)



answers from Minneapolis on

I think I've heard invitations should be sent out at least two weeks in advance, but I would recommend as soon as you've selected a date. I think I usually aimed for about 3 weeks.

Party preference time and day really varies. Are any of them in sporting or other activities that might take place on a Saturday morning? I prefer Saturdays, although activities can sometimes be a challenge. We probably wouldn't go to a Sunday morning party because we go to church. Sunday afternoon might work, but I like to try to keep that for a family day, if possible, or at least I used to before my kids played baseball and hockey!

NO! Sadly, people do not RSVP or stick to their responses. This website is loaded with questions/complaints about party RSVPs. If you need a definite number you are going to have to plan on following up with people by phone or email because a large number of them probably won't RSVP. Make it very clear on your invitation that you need a response, yes or no, by a certain date. Don't just say "RSVP" because many people interpret that as "regrets only."

Good luck venturing into the world of birthday party planning!



answers from Atlanta on

My daughter's 5th birthday at Chuck E cheese is May 18 and I sent invites out this week.

I really don't think there's an optimal time. I've been to parties on Saturday and Sunday anywhere from 11 am to 6pm. I wouldn't do earlier than 11. On Saturdays you are competing against sports and Sundays against church. Chuck E Cheese will offer a small incentive to have it on Sunday.

A lot of people don't RSVP. I hunt them down for a response. If I can't hunt them down, I assume a no.


answers from Grand Forks on

I usually send invites out 2-3 weeks ahead. I have never had a problem with RSVP's, but I only invite the kids we know and play with outside of school, not the whole class.

We have never had or attended a morning party. If you wish to serve lunch then 12-2pm is a good time. If you wish to avoid serving a meal and want to serve snacks only 2-4pm is ideal. We do Saturday parties. Sundays are too busy with church activities, and it is usually a family day.


answers from Chicago on

Sunday - we don't do ANY friend parties on Sundays

Saturday: 10 am - noon, or 12-2

I would send the invitations out 3-4 weeks in advance.

Yes, people DO RSVP and stick to them, but others forget to RSVP, or forget they DID RSVP and no-show, or show up unexpectedly. When it comes to kid parties, I budget in a little wiggle room in the #s.



answers from Boise on

I have hosted too many birthday parties to count. I make sure _parents_ have the invitations 10 days prior to the party. This way, they get enough notice to purchase a gift either close enough to the last payday or far enough away to plan to purchase out of the upcoming check. Times are tough. You need to give enough notice.

Be sure the parents get the invitations. Don't trust children under 8 to give the invitations to parents. :) If you do give them to the children, be sure to do a follow-up call to the parents to ask if they got the invite. If you don't have their contact info., you can give reminders to the teacher to put in the cubbies. (or have the teachers make sure the parents get the invites, but not all teachers like that responsibility, I've learned)

Put RSVP and a date to have it done by along with your e-mail, phone #, etc... This does not mean you will get any at all. Parents don't seem to understand that courtesy. (hmmmph) I usually get responses from about 2/3 of the kids that actually show up. So, plan on having more and/or less than invited.

As for time, I would do one for little people like you are at about 1 pm. This way, they can have plenty of time to wake, eat, get ready, take a nap if need be and then go. It's a good time so if parents want to feed them something else for lunch at home or take them and eat there, it rides that time line nicely.

Be prepared for Chuck E. Cheese. Don't know if you have had parties there, or gone to any and witnessed any there, but be prepared. It can be crazy loud, busy, filled with crying children, grouchy grownups, etc... so keep your "cool hat" on and remember to breathe and have fun!! :D

Oh, and on a side note, be prepared for the parents who say, "Oh, and Johnny's little sister begged and cried to come, so I thought that would be fine....! Thanks!" and there you have an extra child. Take extra goody bags (if you are doing them at all) for those surprise guests. Pretty much every party has one or two surprise guests. :)



answers from Los Angeles on

I generally send invitations 3-4 weeks in advance. My son's party is coming up in mid-May and I sent invites today. this time frame has always worked very well. If you're worried about people forgetting, send an email - or give paper reminders - a few days before saying how excited your son is to celebrate with his friends.

Since many preschoolers still nap in the afternoons, I think morning parties are best. I prefer 10:00 - 12:00. I've seen people on this website complain that 10:00 was too early, but I don't know any moms of preschoolers that haven't already been up for hours by then. All of my kids' parties, as well as the vast majority of their friends' parties, have been from 10-12. I've never heard a single complaint.

As for Saturday vs Sunday, it depends on the kids you're inviting. If any of them play sports, they will have Saturday conflicts (my son was in t-ball by that age); or, if they have older siblings in sports, that may be a conflict also. Sunday runs into trouble with church, though most of my friends have always come to our parties anyway and just done an earlier church service (or skipped it altogether).

I haven't had a problem with RSVPs - never more than 2-3 people don't reply and then I just send them a personal email asking if they can come. I sometimes will have 1-2 kids cancel the day, or the day before, due to illness but I never have no-shows, nor do I have people showing up that didn't reply. The thing to watch out for is siblings - make it very clear on your invitations whether siblings are welcome to join the party or not. A simple "Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate siblings" on the invitation is sufficient; also, address the invitation only to the child that is invited.

Have fun!

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