Parenting is hard — anyone that tells you differently isn’t doing it right. Or they’re lying. In either case, you definitely don’t want to take their advice. Even so, you shouldn’t let that scare you. Having kids may be hard, but it’s rewarding AF. It’s also the most important gig you’ll ever take on! We’re raising up a generation of thinkers, doers, innovators. While that can feel heavy, don’t let it weigh you down. Children are resilient. You’re gonna make mistakes. That’s how you learn. Accept it and make peace with it. However, all of that comes with a caveat: We all have room for improvement. And this is why we love online parenting classes.
Not a single one of us has the whole motherhood thing all figured out. After all, there’s a reason they say it “takes a village” to raise a child. However, not everyone has that kind of support. For those who don’t, there exist plenty of in-person parenting classes and support groups to help us build that village. But since so many of us are staying home more now (thanks, social distancing), we need virtual backup options. And thanks to the wonders of technology, we have myriad resources right at our fingertips.
Luckily, that includes some truly fantastic online parenting classes and support groups you can access right from your comfy couch with just a few taps or clicks… even a few free ones!
The Gist of Online Parenting Classes
Uhhh, why would I want to take an online parenting class?
Well, short answer: Know better, do better. Longer answer: It’s our job to keep learning and growing in order to give our tiny humans the very best we can. By investing in ourselves and our own education — and this can apply to every area, not just parenting — we’re better able to face the challenges life throws our way (2020 anyone?). Thankfully, so many wise people are willing to share their knowledge and experience with those around them. And the internet allows those people to share on a bigger scale. So thank you, technology.
Ok, I’m sold. How do I choose the right online parenting class for me?
Great question. If we’re really being honest, there won’t necessarily be one right class for you. That’s like searching for a magical unicorn. Why? We’re all different. And we’re all in different seasons of parenthood. You may be in the (exhausting) newborn babies stage, while your next-door neighbor is parenting a sassy tween. You guys won’t necessarily benefit from the same class at the same time.
However, there are likely plenty of classes that will benefit you right now — and just as many later on. With that disclaimer in mind, we’ve rounded up a few top picks to get you started.
5 Paid Online Parenting Classes to Check Out
In no particular order, here are five of our favorite paid online parenting classes to start you in the right direction.
1. Taking Cara Babies
Cara is a mom of four, neonatal ICU nurse, certified pediatric sleep consultant, and the wife of a pediatrician. You could say she knows a thing or two about getting wee ones to sleep. Her signature (and aptly named) course, Taking Cara Babies helps families of kids from newborn to age two get better sleep with a mixture of science-backed methods and a lil’ know-how from a veteran mom. Which, c’mon, is the best experience of all, wouldn’t you say?
2. Megan Leahy Parent Coach: From Conflict to Cooperation
This course is great for anyone who needs a boost at any point in the parenting game. Megan Leahy is the author of the book Parenting Outside the Lines and a parenting columnist for The Washington Post. From Conflict to Cooperation offers bite-size video clips in a comprehensive self-paced course covering a wide range of topics that ultimately help you strengthen your relationship with your child. The goal? A more harmonious home.
3. Generation Mindful: Online Positive Parenting Course
Kids test our patience. That’s not news… to anyone. But frankly, parenting without losing our cool is hard. Like, bleary-eyed-walking-through-a-Lego-minefield-in-the-middle-of-the-night-while-trying-to-get-to-a-crying-baby-before-he-wakes-up-the-whole-house hard. That’s where Generation Mindful can help. In their words, this course will help you “discipline without yelling, blame, shame, or pain.” It gets rave reviews online, so we’d say this is one worth checking out.
4. Tinyhood — Baby 101: The Parenting Prerequisite
Are you a newb to parenting? Maybe you’re expecting your first and not quite sure what to, well, expect. Don’t worry; we’ve all been there. If that’s the case, Baby 101: The Parenting Prerequisite was made. For. You. Tinyhood offers a crash course in all things baby — think breastfeeding, sleep, care essentials, and even CPR/first-aid. Your first-year success is their business… quite literally.
5. Aha! Kids — Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids
Aha! Kids are a treasure trove of knowledge when it comes to connected parenting. Their website has been a staple for many moms for many years. It comes as no surprise that they’re now offering a self-paced online course, sharing their very best advice. Peaceful parent, happy kids: Isn’t that what all of us want? If that’s you, give this one a look-see.
6. Pepparent — Thriving with Teens
The teenage years put your parenting skills to the ultimate test, so it helps to be as prepared as you can. With Pepparent, you’ll learn about adolescent brain development and the role you play in their lives as parents. This program also shows you how to communicate with your teen and which language works best in teaching and encouraging them. It also includes ways you can influence your teen’s behavior and how to break through communication barriers.
A Few Free Online Parenting Classes
Designed for separated, divorced, and never-married parents, UpToParents focuses on practical ways to create a peaceful home environment for kids — from teaching divorced parents to save money to helping separated parents feel confident making their own parenting decisions.
This impressive curation of free online classes includes parenting standouts such as “Scientific Secrets for Raising Kids Who Thrive” and “Theories of Human Development.”
Being a mama is hard. But between our online parenting class suggestions and these tips, your baby will be in the best hands (AKA yours). So, if you’re looking for a little parental refresher, we got you, Mama.
- It’s OK if your kid is mad at you. You have to be willing to be the bad guy. It’s important to tell your child the things they don’t want to hear but are ultimately in their best interest (even if they can’t see it).
- Remember to praise your nugget for their good behavior. Address the negative, but don’t let it become the focus. Let your child know you’re always rooting for them to make the right decisions.
- As a parent, it’s really hard not to be the hero. It’s important to give your child a chance to solve their own problems. If you see your kiddo struggling with a task, fight the urge to run over and fix it. Allowing them to work through their frustrations, instead of saving the day, will teach your kiddo independence.
- Block 30 minutes of your day for you and your kiddo to spend time together. This is a chance for you and your child to connect and do something you both enjoy. It will also teach them the value of family.
- Walk the talk. You are your kid’s first role model, so it’s important to set a good example. Whether that be reining in your sweet tooth or controlling your road rage during school drop off. Perfection is not the goal, but it’s important to try to correct negative behavior. When children see their parents making an effort to be better, they will too.
- Avoid gossiping about your kids. Instead, let them overhear you saying good things about them. The next time you speak to grandma on the phone, or your partner, talk about how great your child is. What children overhear affects them differently than what’s told to them directly. It’s a great way to boost their confidence and let them know how you truly see them.