The complete birthday party timeline

4-8 weeks out

  • Decide on the number of guests. If the party will be held outside your home, select and reserve a location. If you choose an outdoor location, come up with a plan for bad weather.
  • Let your child help choose the theme.
  • Make a guest list
  • Book entertainment, if necessary.
  • Order personalised invitations.

2-3 weeks out

One week ahead

  • Decide on the order of activities.
  • Test new games, which you can find on the Kidspot’s Activity Finder.
  • Make a grocery list.
  • Confirm reservations for entertainment or party location.

2-3 days ahead

  • Call guests who haven’t RSVP’d.
  • Shop for food, candles for the cake, lollies for lolly bags or the piñata.
  • Make sure you have a camera or a smartphone that takes good quality snaps.
  • Assemble lolly bags.

One day ahead

  • Clean the party area. Put away items that may be dangerous or distracting.
  • Bake or pick up the cake.
  • Order takeout food (such as pizza), if necessary.
  • Discuss party expectations with your children.
  • Practice saying “thank you” with younger children.

4-5 hours before guests arrive

  • Set the table.
  • Lay out crafts.
  • Inflate balloons.
  • Decorate the house.
  • Tie balloons to your mailbox or front porch so guests can locate the party easily.
  • Find matches for candles.
  • Make sure you have a pen and paper to record gifts.
  • Have a box available to dispose of wrapping paper.

1 hour before guests arrive

  • Take pets to a safe place until the party is over. Some kids may be frightened and others allergic.
  • Dress your children and yourself.
  • Put the food on the table and candles in the cake.
  • Set up crafts and activities.

During the party

  • Greet your guests with the birthday party boy or girl.
  • Make sure younger children know where the toilet is
  • If parents are dropping off children, confirm the pick-up time (and be sure you have a contact number in case of emergency).
  • Take photos (or ask another adult to do so).
  • Enjoy!

The day after

  • Help your child write thank-you notes to party guests.
  • Take time to reflect with your child on what their favourite moments where from the day.


  1. SarahBlair 30/08/2018 at 4:04 pm

    Wow!! This is a great guide, I usually find organising these things to be stressful and often opt to just do a family thing, this guide makes it look a lot easier than I usually imagine…

  2. kymmage 29/08/2018 at 10:41 pm

    I’m such a planner that this looks pretty close to what I do. Except that I will usually start the planning 4-5 months out. The main issue for me, is that I’m doing two at the same time so I need to be able to save money/spread the financial pain. I also have a cake recipe that allows me to make it a few more days ahead and not be stale. Woohoo

  3. Jen_Wiig 27/08/2018 at 1:49 pm

    these are brilliant tips, none of my boys have had bday parties the thought for me is quite over whelming and having anxiety it totally freaks me out, but seeing it ll written down like this makes it seem less scary and more do-able …i dont know about having the party here at home but like the ideas of those playground ones etc but have always wondered if the cater for twins birthdays?
    i have to admire those parents that choose to have bday parties at home ..they are total saints haha becuase i dont know i could do it

  4. MuddledUpMolly 20/08/2018 at 10:18 pm

    I love a good kid’s party and this is a great tool to use, especially as we have less than three months now to plan our daughter’s second birthday. To be honest I’ve never thought of our cat though, we just expect him to run away and be back once all the guests have left as he usually does hehe!

  5. Mands1980 10/08/2018 at 8:05 pm

    Planning a birthday is always difficult and takes a bit of time. I have done both the easy party and the planned party like this article talks about. This is great as it mentions every little process if you have the time to do a well prepared party. Also by reading this you won’t forget any of the important items you need. I like the fact it says to look up Kidspot activity finder which gives you more ideas on party activities.

  6. Bevik1971 08/08/2018 at 4:55 pm

    OMG too much like hard work hahahaha. For my daughter’s 5th last year we just had a meal with 4 of her friends and some family members, much easier! This year may be different though as she’s at school now and made new friends! Aaarrgh 🙂

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