Parenting classes online: Free and court-accepted classes

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At some point, you might need or want to take parenting classes. Reasons to take a parenting class include:

  • You're a new parent and feel clueless.
  • You're going through a divorce
  • You have a very difficult child or violence home
  • You're required to take court-ordered parenting or co-parenting classes
  • You are seeking a parenting course for autism, teenagers or another special need
  • Anger management is an issue
  • You just want to be a more confident mom or dad

Studies find that parenting classes have the potential to create a smoother home environment and better outcomes for children, as well as the parents, co-parenting relationships, and the overall family and household wellbeing.

Plus, even great parents can learn something new — after all, Tiger Woods has a swing coach! 

You’re probably wondering, “Are there parenting classes near me?” 

And there might be. In fact, depending on the state, if you’re looking for court-approved parenting classes, you might need to do them in person. But you might also be able to find online parenting classes.

Learn more at our No. 1 recommendation: Online Parenting Programs now >>

Are there parenting classes online?

If you’re looking for a parenting class, but don’t need to go in-person, it’s possible to go online. Online parenting classes can even be 

can provide insight into how to be better for your children and create a healthier environment. Additionally, you might be able to find court-approved parenting classes online. Here are some of the available websites that can provide you with help, even when there aren’t parenting classes near you.

Related: 31 tips for being a better co-parent — including with a difficult ex

Online parenting classes website: OnlineParentingPrograms.com

The online classes offered by Online Parenting Programs focus on different aspects of family circumstances. These are online courses that can have you through in between two and 12 hours. Additionally, the website says that more than 950 counties in the United States accept these online parenting classes.

Participants take a multiple-choice exam at the end to qualify for a certificate of completion.

For court-approved parenting classes, Online Parenting Programs can help. A popular co-parenting course that is offered frequently costs $29.99. Financial assistance is available. The website is fairly basic, but it’s easy to navigate and find the specific class that meets your needs.

Programs offered include:

  • Co-parenting and divorce
  • High-conflict co-parenting
  • Basic parenting skills
  • Thrive class in which parents and children attend together
  • High-risk parenting skills
  • Anger management

Online parenting classes website: AhaParenting.com

Aha! Parenting offers a variety of online resources to learn about parenting. You can read articles, listen to a podcast and even buy books. However, you can also sign up for the Peaceful Parent Happy Kids online course. This course is a 12-week class that walks you through the parenting method developed by Dr. Laura Markham, child psychologist, author of three bestselling parenting books, including Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting.

With the course, you get weekly audio lessons along with transcripts, worksheets and journal prompts. You also receive exercises you can do with your child. Members get access to an exclusive Facebook group where you can interact with other parents and trained coaches. Registration is limited, and you can only sign up to go through with a cohort, since this is a set 12-week course. Topics include:

  • Peaceful Parenting 101
  • Regulating Your Own Emotions
  • Connecting With Your Child
  • Parenting for Emotional Intelligence
  • Discipline
  • Self-Care
  • Developing resilience, self-discipline and grit
  • Healing Your Triggers
  • Siblings

There are a lot of resources on the website that can help you develop a relationship with your child and develop your own emotional intelligence. Aha! Parenting and Dr. Markham have been featured in major news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Parents, WebMD and others. Get started with Aha Parenting now >>

Online parenting classes website: ActiveParenting.com

You can enroll in an online class with Active Parenting and get access to informational videos and lessons, as well as quizzes. On top of that, you can participate in discussions with other parents. There are activities and lessons developed by certified educators. There are three courses based on the age of your children, as well as two different courses that include a focus on Christian parenting and co-parenting in divorce situations.

Depending on your jurisdiction requirements, some of the Active Parenting courses might be eligible to fulfill court requirements. Check with your court to find out. When you complete the course and pass the final quiz, you can get a certificate to show the court that you’ve met the requirements.

This website is fairly easy to navigate, and you can easily take quizzes, sign up for online parenting classes or find an in-person class near you.

Online parenting classes website: LifeMatters.com

If you’re looking for something straightforward and simple, the LifeMatters parenting classes can help you focus on the essentials. The website guarantees that it offers court-approved parenting classes that are accepted in all 50 states, so if you need something to help you meet court-required criteria, this website might be able to help.

There are rapid parenting class options that focus on various age groups for your children, as well as co-parenting classes for those going through divorce. With these classes, you read online material and take required tests. When you pass, you receive a certificate that can be presented to the court. LifeMatters also offers eight-week courses with personal coaching, with more in-depth help and daily lessons and activities. These courses also focus on different age groups and situations.

LifeMatters encourages you to submit the information to a lawyer, social worker or court for pre-approval, and offers a money back guarantee if the family court doesn’t end up accepting the certificate.

Online parenting classes website: PeaceatHomeParenting.com

Peace at Home Parenting Solutions offers an annual membership that offers unlimited access to past trainings and classes. There is also a free parenting class available through this website. Peace at Home continually updates its offerings and even has a COVID-19 toolbox aimed at parenting challenges during this time of pandemic. This website also stands out as one that offers online parenting classes in Spanish.

When you purchase individual classes or a membership, you can get access to printable handouts to work on in your own time, as well as monthly Q&As. There are also live classes, and you can receive recordings to watch on demand later. Finally, there’s a Facebook group that allows you to interact with other parents and get information from experts.

The board of advisors includes a number of people from different areas of healthcare and fintech, and includes licenced social workers.

Online parenting classes website: PricelessParenting.com

At Priceless Parenting, you can find parenting classes for various ages. Additionally, this website features court-ordered parenting classes. You can choose classes that can be accomplished online in a few hours, or you can sign up for instructor-led classes. There are also a number of presentations available at Priceless Parenting, taught by Kathy Slattengren, who has a M. Ed. and is a specialist at helping parents with children with behavioral issues.

Parenting classes include lessons that you can follow at your own pace, as well as unlimited access to various resources. You can also join monthly group sessions via Zoom and take advantage of the private Facebook group for parenting support. This resource is recommended by social workers, counselors and lawyers, and has also received a Mom’s Choice Award.

Free online parenting classes website: EdX.org

If you’re more interested in free parenting classes to learn how to be a better parent, EdX can provide you with classes from top universities. Some of the offerings include “The Science of Parenting” from UC San Diego and “Developmental Psychology” from IsraelX, a consortium of leading academic institutions in Israel.

These classes include lectures, assignments and work you can do on your own. They are free to watch, but you won’t have access to instructor help or certifications. In order to get an experience more reminiscent of a classroom or course, you need to pay. However, there are classes available from 140 well-known institutions.

Free online parenting classes website: calparents.org

The Child Parent Institute (formerly the California Parent Institute) runs this website designed to provide online parenting classes for those in Sonoma County. However, you can find resources to help you no matter where you are. There are online live classes that you can register for in advance. This includes classes in Spanish as well as English. 

Classes include co-parenting help, anger management, creating strong families and other topics that might be of interest for someone hoping to create a healthier emotional environment for children. It’s also possible to take advantage of parenting resources in person.

Free online parenting classes website

The Center for Children and Families at Florida International University offers the Parent Club, which provides online parenting workshops in English, Spanish and Creole. This site partners with The Children’s Trust. However, the classes are aimed only at those with children up to 12 years old.

With the Parent Club, you sign up for workshops on specific dates. Then, you attend online. The workshops are designed to help you create a positive learning environment, be a better parent, help children develop skills and deal with negative feelings. 

FAQs about parenting classes

What is a parenting class? Why do parents need parenting classes?

Parenting classes are designed to help you provide a healthy physical and emotional environment for your children. 

In some cases, you might be required to take a parenting class because you’re mandated to do so by child and youth support services or some other state department. When it comes to divorce, many district and family courts require parenting classes, particularly those that focus on co-parenting after divorce.

Even if you aren’t required to take a parenting class, it still might be worth it to learn how to better provide for your child’s needs. Many parenting classes offer information about child development, and can present effective tools and techniques for raising children to be resilient.

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Where to find court-approved parenting classes

Court-ordered parenting classes are designed for a specific purpose. They can help provide information and resources to create a healthier home environment for your children, or they can be used to help you co-parent more effectively after divorce.

It’s important to understand that not all online parenting classes satisfy the requirements for court-approved parenting classes. Many family courts can provide a list of parenting classes that meet their criteria. Additionally, if you find online parenting classes that you think work, you can submit it to your lawyer or social worker to get pre-approval by the court.

Many districts and programs offer parenting classes in Spanish and other languages.

Where to find co-parenting classes for divorcing and separating parents

In many cases, if you’re going through a divorce or separation, you need to take court-ordered parenting classes. Some courts also require co-parenting classes so that parents can maintain relationships that are healthier for children. 

Finding court-approved parenting classes can be done by asking the court for their own list of resources. These usually include in-person and online parenting classes. If you find a class that you think meets the requirements, you can work with the court to get pre-approval.

Parenting classes near me or online?

If you’re looking for parenting classes near me or online, you can usually find that information by searching online or by checking with your state’s department that handles child support services or by checking with your district’s family court.

When you do online parenting classes, you have the advantage of completing the work at your own pace and reviewing information you missed the first time. On the other hand, though, you might not get the same level of in-person support with online parenting classes that you’d get with parenting classes near you.

Parenting classes near you offer you the chance to interact in-person, and get specific help for your situation. This can also be useful if you need extra support. However, with in-person classes, you might not be able to work around a difficult schedule. With in-person, you have to be present at a specific time.

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What are the benefits of parenting classes? Are parenting classes effective?

Parenting classes benefit adults and children by providing direction to parents when it comes to creating healthy physical and emotional environments. According to a research review of different parenting programs, parenting classes can help children with behavioral and emotional adjustment, as well as contribute to parental wellbeing.

When should you start parenting classes?

It can help to start parenting classes at any point in the parenting journey. However, the earlier you start learning the tools and techniques for better parenting, the more likely you are to be an effective parent. 

Additionally, if you know you’re going to be getting divorced, it can help to enroll in a co-parenting class as soon as possible to begin working on the new family dynamic.

What do you do in parenting classes?

Parenting classes often provide insight into child development as well as offering tools and techniques for providing a supportive emotional environment. Parenting classes also often focus on ways for you to manage your own emotions and response. In general, you gain access to knowledge, tools and resources designed to help you create a home environment and family relationships that enhance the wellbeing of children and parents, including in situations that include divorce.

How long do parenting classes last?

Parenting classes can last anywhere from two hours to several weeks, depending on the course you choose. Some court-ordered parenting classes can be completed in several hours online, as long as it meets the requirements of the court. Other parenting classes last six to 12 weeks, and include coaching and counseling.

How much money do parenting classes cost?

Parenting classes range in cost, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. There are free online parenting classes, as well as free in-person parenting classes provided by state agencies and nonprofits. However, you might have to pay anywhere between $25 and more than $200 for parenting classes that offer different tools and resources. 

If you need to find court-approved parenting classes that cost money, there might be some financial assistance available.

Miranda Marquit, MBA, has been writing about money on the internet for 15 years and has contributed to NPR, Forbes, The Hill, Marketwatch, and CNBC. She is an avid podcaster and enjoys travel, the outdoors, and playing board games with her teenage son. Miranda lives in Idaho and writes at MirandaMarquit.com.

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