There are few situations in the lives of a parent that come with the stress associated with planning and executing a birthday party for one of their children. With each year and each party, it seems like the stakes get raised to have a party at a more adventurous venue or with a more exciting theme. There's a lot of work, effort, and money involved.

But such a happy time doesn't have to be fraught with fear and frugality. Instead, follow these easy tips and make the birthday party as stress-free as possible.

1. Prepare Early

Procrastination is your worst enemy. First, get an idea several months out about what type of party your child wants. Give him a little time to mull it over and expect him to change his mind at least once. But if you have lots of lead time, you'll be in good shape. Book the venue as soon as possible. Popular places fill up quickly so you've got to act fast. When it comes to food, decorations, goodie bags, etc., you have time but it's a good idea to map out what you think you'll need and begin building a budget.

2. Stick to It

Since we're talking about the budget, make sure that once you finalize a number, you stick to it. You certainly need to build in a little wiggle room but you can feel comfortable after you do your research about the majority of the costs.

3. Watch Your Workload

Planning a party for any parent can be a monumental task but if you're juggling a job, other children, and lots of activities, it can be overwhelming. Be honest with yourself and don't take on more than you can handle. Sure, you would love to make a personalized superhero shirt and cape for each of your son's friends as a gift but that might be more than you can handle right now.

4. Ask for Help

If this is too much work for you to pull off, enlist your mother, sister, father, in-laws, or best friend to help. They love your kids, too, and will probably be more than willing to pitch in. It's a good idea to give each person a specific, targeted task so everyone knows what their responsibility is.

5. Keep It Simple

OK, so last year you rented out a mountain for a ski party for your adventurous teen. You set all kinds of records and earned all sorts of parenting cred. This year, you can scale back. The party is more about the people and the memories than the amount of money spent or how cool the party is. Go bowling. Go ice skating. Take the birthday boy and his friends to a ballgame. It will still be awesome.

6. Pinterest

Having trouble coming up with a few extra special touches for the party? Look no further than Pinterest for motivation. If you urgently need inspiration for a medieval-times birthday party, you will no doubt discover a parent who put on a similar party in the recent past.

7. Don't Have It at Home

Some might disagree but my philosophy has always been that by having a child's birthday party at home you are asking for more and more work. First, you have to clean the home prior to the party, but that pales in comparison to the amount of work you have to do cleaning up after a dozen kids run roughshod through your home. If you are dead set on having the party at your house, you'll want to find a few extra dollars to hire a cleaning crew.

8. Volunteer a Photographer

You will be so busy during the party serving food, wrangling kids, organizing activities, and trying to spend time with guests that you might miss out on some special moments. Ask a trusted friend or family member to take over photo and video duties so after the party is over you can go back and relive it. Also, make sure that you get a family photo or at least a photo with the birthday child. You'll be glad that you took the time to do it.

9. Prepare for Problems

No party is perfect. The grocery store might misspell your child's name on the cake or the party before yours might run long forcing you to scramble to set up. If you're in the proper mindset, those problems might be annoyances but they won't derail your entire soiree. Relax, realize that nothing is perfect, and expect the unexpected. If things go off without a hitch, you'll feel extra blessed at the end of the day.

10. Have a Backup Plan

What will you do if it rains? How will you handle extra hot weather? What will you do if the cake isn't ready? You can't troubleshoot every potential crisis — and you'd go crazy trying to — but for big things you can have a backup plan ready to go if necessary.

11. Have Fun

This seems like a no-brainer, right? But with tons of kids running around and a schedule to maintain, you can easily forget to sit back and take in all the enjoyment. During the party, remind yourself to live in the moment and survey your kids in all their glory.