The 7 Best Online Parenting Classes of 2020

Help point your children in the right direction

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Megan Leahy Parent Coach

"Through a set of four modules, she walks parents through the nitty-gritty of power struggles, discipline, and family meetings."

Best Value: Peace at Home Parenting Solutions

"Live and pre-recorded parenting classes offered for free by a team of mental health and child development professionals."

Best for Co-Parenting: Crossroads of Parenting and Divorce by Active Parenting

"It breaks co-parenting down into five strategies necessary for creating a healthy relationship with your parenting partner."

Best for Organization: The Unfrazzled Mom by Messy Motherhood

"This class is a standout because it focuses on real, practical tips for organizing your task list and reducing battles with your kids."

Best for Stress Management: Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Aha! Parenting

"The course targets common aspects of all relationships: communication, confidence, respect, and deep connection."

Best for Decision-Making: The Science of Parenting

"Totally free access to science-based research and recommendations from University of California San Diego parenting experts."

Best for Power Struggles: Positive Parenting Solutions

"Promises to not only help you through your current struggles with your kids, but also to set you up for continued success."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Megan Leahy Parent Coach

Megan Leahy Parent Coach

Megan Leahy Parent Coach

If you subscribe to The Washington Post, you’ve probably read Meghan Leahy’s advice to parents on any number of topics: in addition to being a certified parent coach, she’s also a parenting columnist for the national newspaper and frequently tries to help parents find their way out of sticky situations with their kids.

In her online course titled From Conflict to Cooperation: Understanding and Preventing Power Struggles with your Children, Leahy shows parents how to handle sticky situations all by themselves. Through a set of four modules, she walks parents through the nitty-gritty of power struggles, discipline, family meetings, and making connections with their children. Notably, she also takes a whole family approach to her class, inviting parents to think just as much about what they need as what their kids need (because happy parents make happy kids).

What really sets Leahy’s course apart from many others, though, is all of the convenience, accessibility, and support baked right in. Once you register, the class begins immediately and can be worked through on your own terms.

Spouses, partners, or caregivers can join, you can access the materials forever, and there are a variety of learning resources available (like Facebook Live videos and homework assignments). You will also be able to join a closed Facebook group, allowing you to ask questions, share tips, and find support from other parents who have taken the course.

You can pay the full price for the course for around $289, or select a payment plan to save. Leahy also offers one-on-one coaching with parents for roughly $180 per session.

Best Value: Peace at Home Parenting Solutions

Peace at Home Parenting Solutions

Peace at Home Parenting Solutions

Looking for the answer to a specific parenting question? One of Peace at Home’s free online courses might be able to help.

There are two formats to choose from: live classes on parenting essentials and pre-recorded ones, both packing practical tips into short, manageable sessions that can be started and finished in one sitting.

Both of the class formats have advantages. With a live course, you can ask questions and receive an answer from the moderator, plus access the recording afterward if you missed anything or want to hear it again.

Pre-recorded courses, on the other hand, can be played literally anytime you want (and offer all the playback options you need, because you know your kids will probably interrupt you).

On the list of topics are things like parent wellness, routines and chores, sleep coaching your kids, and stress management, all presented by Peace at Home’s team of licensed mental health professionals, educators, social workers, and psychologists.

This might not be the most comprehensive class out there, but you will get reliable advice from seasoned parenting experts at literally no cost to you. And, since the classes won’t eat up much of your precious free time, it’s really a win-win.

Best for Co-Parenting: Crossroads of Parenting and Divorce by Active Parenting

Active Parenting

Active Parenting?

It’s hard enough figuring out this whole parenting thing when you have a live-in partner, but for parents going through a divorce or separation, the job becomes even tougher. You might have competing interests, parenting styles, and priorities.

But does that mean you’re doomed to disagree on everything (and scar your kids in the process)? Thankfully, no. There are ways for divorced and separated parents to peacefully co-parent, though it does take work, willingness, and compromise.

At Active Parenting, Dr. Michael Popkin has developed a series of online courses to help parents through various ages and stages of their child’s life, including the one where you’re splitting from your partner and trying to find a new, healthy “normal” for your family.

This course, called Crossroads of Parenting and Divorce, breaks co-parenting down into five strategies necessary for creating a healthy relationship with your parenting partner while supporting your child and prioritizing their needs.

The course is more affordable in comparison to others at around $80, but that price tag comes with a few limitations: Once you register, you’ll need to complete all hours of the course (it takes four to six hours to work through the materials) within three weeks.

Best for Organization: The Unfrazzled Mom by Messy Motherhood

Messy Motherhood

Messy Motherhood

Do you feel like all your mom friends have it together and you’re just a hot mess? Parenting is exhausting, confusing, and stressful, and unless you’re a super-organized, type-A personality, it can really do a number on your executive functioning.

Amanda Rueter, a children’s mental health therapist and the creator of Messy Motherhood, knows exactly how you feel. Getting overwhelmed by the daily demands of parenting—the messes, the to-do lists, the guilt—is understandable.

Thankfully, Rueter says it doesn’t have to be that way. Her online course promises to help you rediscover the joy and positivity of parenting by finding balance, peace, and downtime in your day-to-day life.

This class is a standout because it focuses on real, practical tips for organizing your task list and reducing battles with your kids. At the same time, it helps you organize your mental health, introducing a sense of much-needed confidence and calm to your parenting tactics.

Even the most frazzled, disorganized, and stressed-out moms will find themselves thinking more clearly after taking this course (around $99), which includes three short modules, live calls, and a 30-day membership in the site's community, The Messy Motherhood Village.

Best for Stress Management: Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Aha! Parenting

Aha! Parenting

Aha! Parenting

At its core, parenting is a relationship. It doesn’t matter that you’re an adult and your “partner” is a tiny, irrational toddler who likes to wear his underwear on his head—it’s still a relationship, and that takes work.

Dr. Laura Markham’s course aims to help you grow in your parenting approach by emphasizing common aspects of all relationships: communication, confidence, respect, and deep connection.

The 12-week course takes a big-picture approach to developing healthy family bonds, including practicing emotional regulation (for you and your kids), finding routines, teaching resilience and discipline, fostering strong sibling bonds, and understanding your own anger triggers.

Logistically, there’s a good package deal here: for roughly $154, you get weekly audio lessons, short meditations, practical exercises and sessions, permanent access to an online support group of parents, plus a copy of Markham’s popular book "Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids" (which the online course is based around).

If you feel that your own stress is the biggest challenge to overcome in your efforts to have a happier, more peaceful home life, this might be the best fit for you.

Best for Decision-Making: The Science of Parenting

The Science of Parenting

The Science of Parenting

If you’ve ever stood in the aisle of a baby store and wondered how you were supposed to choose one pacifier out of the 35 different brands and models offered, there is the perfect online course for you.

The Science of Parenting is a free course offered through the University of California San Diego, focusing on breaking down the actual facts, research, and statistics behind all those parenting recommendations.

As parents have grown more savvy over the years, they’ve paid a steep price: There are now more opinions, rumors, false “truths,” and judgments about individual styles of parenting than there have ever been before.?That’s where this course really shines.

The five-week syllabus tackles some big, often controversial issues—think breastfeeding, vaccinations, and homeschooling, for starters—but looks at each one through the lens of scientific research, studies, and best practices.

It also teaches you how to apply your newfound knowledge about analytics and correlation to topics not presented in the course (so you can keep on being a parenting genius long after it ends).

Best for Power Struggles: Positive Parenting Solutions

Positive Parenting Solutions

Positive Parenting Solutions

Your kid wants to drink his milk out of a blue cup, but you only have a red one to offer them. The news sends them into a full-on tantrum, complete with red-faced screaming and body contortions on the kitchen floor.

What gives? Kids often feel powerless, so it only makes sense that they would push back sometimes in random ways.?But these battles can derail the peace in your house (not to mention your sanity).

If you’re finding that your daily life has been consumed by power struggles with your child, the seven-step course at Positive Parenting Solutions tackles them from the ground up. The class begins with lessons on child psychology and misbehavior, moves through routines, consequences, and backtalk, and ends with a plan for increasing harmony in your family.

It promises to not only help you through your current struggles with your kids, but also to set you up for continued success in the future.?The other benefit of this program is that the lessons are customizable within your price range: For the maximum amount of resources it will cost you roughly $350, but it can be scaled down to less than $225 to fit a smaller budget.

How We Chose the Best Online Parenting Classes

Before you spend time and money on an online parenting class, you want to be sure it’s a quality investment. We looked at three metrics to decide which online classes would help you solve your most-pressing parenting dilemmas while giving you the most bang for your buck:

  1. Experience: If someone is going to give you parenting advice, they should have the credentials to back it up. All of the courses listed here have been created by experts: mental health and family therapists, social workers, educators, psychologists, and parents. You want someone who hasn’t just learned about child development in textbooks, but who has actually been in the parenting trenches, too.
  2. Usefulness: Parents interested in online classes, for the most part, want advice and solutions for an array of problems, ranging from discipline to anger management to strengthening relationships. The classes featured here cover a variety of topics, so that most parents who sign up are likely to get something useful out of them (no matter who they are or what challenges they’re facing).?
  3. Class goals and outcomes: We wanted to understand exactly what was being offered in a parenting class before we recommended it to you, so we looked for class descriptions that are clear about what customers can expect. We made sure we could find out what topics or parenting challenges are addressed in the class, how the lessons are shared with parents, and what parents can reasonably expect to learn.
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