Last updated on November 27th, 2023.
Taking parenting classes is a great way to encourage nurturing behavior and expand your knowledge of child development no matter where you are in your childrearing journey. However, it can sometimes be difficult to schedule these classes around the life of a new or expectant parent.
Online parenting classes can serve as a great way for new or expectant parents to gain the benefits of a parenting class without the inconvenience of a physical class setting. Parenting classes can help give parents the tools they need to raise their child well and can also bolster self-confidence.
Parenting classes online might be a great resource for new or expectant parents, but their benefits are determined by the quality of the class. Keep reading to learn more about a few of the best online parenting courses available.
Is Parenting Natural or Learned?
There is some debate as to whether the majority of a person’s parenting skill is natural or learned, but there is no debate that parenting skills can be learned. Maternal and paternal instinct is a phenomenon that is observed in all kinds of animal mothers, particularly mammals like humans. There is also a good deal of practical learning—sometimes by trial and error—that goes into a child’s care.
Many new parents may find themselves intimidated by the idea of maternal or paternal instinct dictating how well they will be capable of raising their child.
To these parents, I say relax. While some people may naturally have a stronger parenting instinct than others, all new parents are equally capable of learning the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully raise a baby through childhood.
Here are some of the reasons that it’s good to take parenting classes to learn parenting skills:
- It takes the pressure off. Without proper guidance in child development, a parent may find themselves floundering with a newborn. This lack of security and feeling “bad” at parenting a new child can sometimes snowball into postpartum depression if a parent’s attachment to their newborn isn’t as strong as they imagined it would be.
- It encourages the parent. In raising a child, many of the experiences that parents run into are not experiences that they anticipated having to deal with unless they’ve had preparation first. Knowing that other parents have gone through similar experiences can make parents more cheerful about difficult phases such as teething or tantrums.
- It helps the parent establish a baseline. A parent who has been taught the normal milestones and behaviors to watch for in their developing child can learn to be more observant towards off or abnormal behaviors. This can help parents more quickly catch developmental issues like autism and deafness and treat them with early intervention.
- It can help parents learn to co-parent. Starting off raising a child together when you aren’t a couple or have gone through a separation can be fraught with emotional conflicts if healthy boundaries aren’t established early in the process. Learning to co-parent compassionately and with the sake of the child in mind can lead to a healthier family unit.
Even for parents who have a strong sense of natural parenting ability, parenting classes can offer a resource pool of knowledge and tools that new parents wouldn’t be able to take advantage of without first being exposed to them. This added knowledge and insight can turn a good parent into a great one.
How Long Do Online Parenting Classes Take?
The length of online parenting classes varies from class to class since many online courses are built to be pursued at your own pace. This flexibility is designed to be beneficial to busy new or expectant parents who have a lot of things to prepare for in addition to taking classes.
The average length of an online parenting class is eight weeks. However, since many of these classes can be self-paced, parents who work through the material more quickly may finish the course sooner, while others may take longer depending on how much material they absorb weekly.
Many of the lessons in an online parenting course are designed to take an hour or two per session. New parents may want to space out parenting lessons to spend extra time with each lesson to fully absorb everything there is to learn in the resource materials. When it comes to building a solid foundation of knowledge for raising your kid, slow and steady wins the race.
5 Great Parenting Classes Online
Knowing what parenting classes to take online can be difficult since there are so many available. Parenting classes also span a wide variety of topics, with some concentrating on a baby’s early development and others focusing on toddlerhood or grade school.
To get you started on your search for online parenting classes, below you’ll find five of the best classes available. While these classes focus on different parenting curriculums, they all have something to offer both expectant, new, and experienced parents.
1. Soul Parenting
It is believed that there is a piece of your soul that knows how to handle all of the challenges you face in life by instinct, including those that have to do with parenting. A major issue that new parents run into when dealing with a child for the first time is that they let their own negative emotions about the process—fear, anxiety, and frustration—take control.
The Soul Parenting course is designed to give parents the tools they need to parent with self-confidence. This in turn allows them to cultivate a calmer household and develop a deeper connection with their child.
Taught by Gafnit Salvi this 35 day course is designed to help you develop and refine a positive mindset to parenting. It will help you extend your understanding and communication skills and enhance your sensitivity.
This course helps you tap into that natural part of your soul that may have been quieted by the things you have been through in life. It also taps into your ability to synchronize with your family. This increases the way your family functions and allows you to have harmony with one another. It helps prepare children for their futures and their personal growth in life.
You can move through these models at your own pace, making sure to take the time to absorb each lesson and put into practice conscious parenting before moving on to the next lesson.
The cost of this course is $400 and the next class begins on May 8th, 2022.
2. MindValley Conscious Parenting Mastery
MindValley’s Conscious Parenting Mastery course focuses on the connection that a parent has with their own inner child, as well as the ability of the parent to foster the kind of self-awareness necessary to make good parenting decisions.
MindValley’s conscious parenting program helps parents avoid these common pitfalls when it comes to raising their children:
- Projecting one’s own identity onto a child without honoring the child’s self-identity
- Expecting too much from a child rather than engaging them in an empathetic way
- Judging a child’s behavior rather than accepting their behavior with compassion
- Reacting negatively to parental feelings rather than acknowledging and experiencing them
- Over-correcting children rather than forming meaningful connections with them
The Conscious Parenting Mastery Course is taught by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a New York Times bestselling author.
Using her own parenting experiences as a foundation, Dr. Tsabary examines the controlling aspects of more traditional parenting models. Tsabary’s methodology exposes the flaws that lead them to ingraining negative behaviors and mindsets in both children and parents.
3. The Joyful Parent
The Joyful Parent is an online parenting class that helps parents learn to deal with children who are harder to handle—kids who are willful, easily frustrated, or easily agitated.
To a degree, this could describe most children, especially in toddlerhood when they are learning their independence. However, The Joyful Parent is a great course for learning how to navigate kids who may have more difficulties emotionally, such as those with ADHD or those who exist on the autism spectrum.
These are some of the topics covered by The Joyful Parent curriculum:
- Eroding tension between parent and child to establish a stronger parental bond
- Interpreting challenging early childhood behaviors in a way that doesn’t trigger self-doubt and frustration about parenting
- Providing consistency for gradual behavior improvements
- Remaining emotionally grounded to avoid emotional blow-ups over child behavior
- Dealing with the burnout and stress that accompanies new parenthood
The Joyful Parent is a self-paced parenting class, which means it’s perfect for the new or expectant parent who has to fit the courses in around an already-busy schedule. The Joyful Parent is a program organized by Wendy Young, a practicing child psychotherapist focusing on early childhood development.
This parenting course emphasizes teaching parents what to expect during their child’s development so that they can be better emotionally equipped to deal with stressors and trials along the way. The Joyful Parent also offers a moneyback guarantee for those who are not satisfied with the outcome of the course’s parenting strategies.
4. Nurturing Parenting: ABC’s for Parents And Their Children 5 to 8
Nurturing Parenting is a course that centers around teaching parenting skills that keep childhood trauma in mind. While this sounds quite serious compared to some other online parenting courses, this is a crucial course for parents who were themselves raised in a cycle of domestic abuse or neglect.
Using years of collected data on the types of parenting strategies that can cause damage and neglect to children during the most crucial years of development, the Nurturing Parenting system instead teaches techniques that can help parents avoid accidental trauma and abuse out of ignorance for their impact on a child’s mental and emotional development.
Here are some of the issues that are covered by the Nurturing Parenting coursework:
- Assessing parents for attitude problems that may result in child neglect or abuse out of frustration or unrealistic expectations
- Teaching parents non-violent and empowering parenting techniques that help reduce harm to the next generation through domestic abuse
- Establishing healthy parent-child roles in the household
- Developing empathy for children that helps prevent maltreatment
Unlike other online parenting courses, the Nurturing Parenting curriculum is used extensively by social welfare services to help prevent and treat families that are already caught up in a cycle of domestic neglect or abuse. This is also the parenting course preferred by the U.S. Department of the Army and the U.S. Navy to help support new parents in the military.
The Nurturing Parenting system is organized by Dr. Stephen J. Bavolek, a Ph.D. in the field of child abuse and its effects on childhood development.
5. Happy Heart Parenting
Happy Heart Parenting is a basics-based parenting course that has been approved by court systems as an online parenting course for court-ordered parenting classes. The Happy Heart Parenting course is a good option for parents who may not be able to commit to a longer parenting course since this course is only six hours. This means it can be easily completed over a few days.
Happy Heart Parenting classes are broken into two major categories: Parenting and Co-Parenting. Happy Heart Parenting offers co-parenting classes for those parents who are raising a child in a house of separation or divorce since these factors can make a big difference in how a child is raised from day to day.
Happy Heart Parenting courses cover the following concepts:
- Engaging with children in positive ways that foster their healthy development
- Taking the mystery out of parenting and alleviating many of the stresses in early parenthood that can lead to maladaptive parenting skills
- Increasing the quality of parent-child interactions in a way that bolsters the confidence of both parent and child
- Helping children learn coping mechanisms and self-care that can reinforce positive self-worth
While Happy Heart Parenting courses are designed to be absorbed in a shorter amount of time than many other courses, these courses are court-approved and constructed to teach all of the essential skills necessary for a strong foundation in parenting skills.
For parents who are looking for ways to parent positively even in a high-conflict environment, Happy Heart Parenting can take a lot of the guesswork out of figuring out how to address your child.
How to Choose an Online Parenting Class
Choosing an online parenting course comes down to what a parent needs out of their parenting education. Parents will receive a much different parenting education from a one-time, six-hour online parenting course geared at court-ordered parents versus comprehensive parenting courses that can take weeks or even months to complete.
Here is a breakdown of the three major types of online parenting classes you’re likely to run into on the Net
- Court-ordered parenting courses: These inexpensive courses are usually the bare minimum when it comes to teaching parenting concepts. Most of them can be completed in hours or days. These courses give a good broad overview of child development and can teach how to avoid the largest pitfalls in parenting, but don’t go into intricate detail on parenting techniques.
- Subject-specific parenting courses: Many parenting courses are compartmentalized to address a specific subset of childhood behavior or a certain age group. Compartmentalized courses may focus on anything from disciplinary tactics to readying preschoolers for grade school. Prices for subject-specific parenting courses can range widely depending on course size and material.
- Comprehensive parenting courses: Comprehensive online parenting courses are some of the most exhaustive (and expensive) courses on the Internet for parenting. These courses can take months to complete. Comprehensive parenting courses generally try to address all topics that a parent will run into from infanthood through childhood and adolescence.
The top 3 online conscious parenting courses are designed to sound good on paper and most of them have glowing online reviews by social media marketing design, parents who are choosing between parenting courses should do a little detective work to determine which course is the best fit for them and their family. Here are a few ways parents can help determine which online parenting courses are high-quality experiences:
- Look for credentials. Most parenting courses are taught by some kind of childhood development expert. However, when shopping for one, be sure to look at consumers too. Parenting courses that are endorsed by child-related government agencies and corporations are often an indication that the course has gained some positive traction in the public sphere.
- Look for positive reviews. Positive, detailed reviews from a person with a verified identity (a first and last name listed) can also help legitimize online courses. Reviews that do not list a real name or only contain a general blurb should be considered suspicious.
- Look for a money-back guarantee. Many parenting courses will offer a refund if the included parenting strategies aren’t satisfactory. Parents should be skeptical of online parenting courses that offer no refund or guarantee of services.
There are so many online parenting courses available that it can be difficult to know which courses are scientific and legitimate and which are operating purely for profit. Doing a little legwork to ensure that a course contains good information will go a long way towards making sure that parents get the most out of their parenting courses.
Online Parenting Classes Help Parents Succeed
Some people might associate parenting classes with court-ordered punishment as the aftermath of childhood neglect or abuse, but this isn’t the only role of parenting classes in childhood development.
The truth is that all parents, no matter how experienced, can benefit from a structured education in early childhood development. Online parenting courses go a long way towards offering that benefit to all parents no matter what their household or schedule looks like.
(If you are looking to raise a kid that is mindful, aware, and centered, you might want to check out this great info on mindfulness and meditation for kids!)