4.1 out of 5
66 reviews on Udemy

Modify Your WordPress Theme the RIGHT Way Using Child Themes

Learn how (and WHY!) to create and implement a simple child theme to change the look and style of your WordPress website
Kathleen Farley
2,285 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
In this course, we'll learn how to create a simple child theme using the self-hosted version of WordPress
We'll focus on WHY and HOW things work in WordPress –– so you can develop an intuitive understanding of how to create and use child themes
By the end of this course, you'll be able to create your own child themes with confidence, following best practices every step of the way!

Learn how to create your own WordPress child theme to change the look and style of your website in this series of tutorials aimed at beginner-level web designers and web developers.

  • Using a WordPress child theme is the best, safest, and easiest way to modify an existing WordPress theme, whether you want to make a few tiny changes or extensive changes.

In this course, we’ll talk about when, where and why to use a child theme, what tools you need to create your own child theme, and how to properly set up and edit your child theme.


My name is Kathleen, and I’ve been teaching technology to beginners under the moniker Robobunnyattack! since 2009. I believe that with the right approach, anyone can learn anything.

My goal in this course is to help you develop an intuitive understanding of WordPress child themes, and how to make them work for YOU.

The lessons in this courses are perfect for “advanced beginners” who:

  • Are comfortable using WordPress;
  • Know (or are willing to learn) some basic HTML and CSS; and
  • Know (or are willing to learn) how to use FTP software to move files to and from web server.

If this describes you, then you’re ready to learn how to create WordPress child themes!

In this course, we’ll create a simple WordPress child theme. As we work together, I’ll explain what each step means and WHY we do it, so you can learn more quickly and with more confidence. We’ll cover:

  • The many advantages to using child themes in WordPress, vs simply editing pre-existing themes
  • What you need to get started creating child themes
  • How to create, activate, and test your very own child theme
  • Where to go to learn more about building and customizing WordPress themes

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to create your very own WordPress child theme!

Here’s just a sample of what my (awesome!) students have to say about this course:

“Thank you Kathleen for this great course! This course is for everyone who has kind of heard of a child theme before but doesn’t know what it really does and what the first steps are.” —Susanne B.

“The course is taught in a conversational, clear, concise, and funny way. There wasn’t a minute that I got bored watching and listening to it.” —Randell B.

“Really straight forward and easy to understand, step by step.” —Matt H.

“Kathleen’s instruction is clear, down-to-earth, and spot on. Her style is devoid of geek-speak and enthusiastic. If you want to learn to customize WordPress themes to make them more your own, I highly recommend this course.” —Leslie S.


  • This course includes lifetime access to over 50 minutes of step-by-step videos.
  • You’ll also get supplementary text lectures and links to helpful resources.
  • Short quizzes at the end of each section will help you gauge your own understanding and check your progress along the way.

BONUS: I’ve also included a FREE bonus section (“SECTION 5: FTP Basics”) explaining how FTP (File Transfer Protocol) works. Understanding how to use FTP software is essential in order to build your own child theme. If you aren’t already familiar with FTP or you need a quick refresher, you can start there!


  • This completely depends on your availability and learning preference. You can work through all the video lectures in one afternoon, or pace yourself over several days or weeks — it’s up to you!


  • This course comes with an unconditional 30-day Udemy-backed guarantee. Try out this course for 30 days and see for yourself if my approach to learning how to create WordPress child themes is right for you. If you’re not 100% satisfied with this course, simply request a full refund within 30 days — no conditions, no questions asked!

I’m confident you’ll LOVE this course, and I’m excited to help you learn. Enrol now and you can start building and customizing your very first WordPress child theme today!

—Kathleen Farley (aka Robobunnyattack!)



Welcome to WordPress Child Themes for Beginners!

In this course, we'll talk about when, where and why to use a child theme, what tools you need to create your own child theme, and how to properly set up and edit your child theme.

These tutorials are suitable for "advanced beginner" learners who are comfortable using WordPress, know some basic HTML/CSS, and are familiar with using FTP software.

In this video I give quick overview of what we'll be covering in this course.

If you have any questions, please post a message in the course dashboard or contact me!

Happy learning!

Why use a child theme?

In this video, I talk about why it's a good idea to use child themes in WordPress. I discuss a few commonly-cited reasons, as well as some not-so-obvious (but important) reasons.

(If you're dying to jump right into child theme development, don't worry - you can safely skip this video!)

What you need to get started

Before we start building our child theme, you'll want to ensure you have the required knowledge and tools.

BONUS: If you aren't already familiar with how to use an FTP client, skip ahead to Section 4: (EXTRA CONTENT) FTP Basics!

Check your progress!

Are you ready to check your progress? Let's see how you're doing!

First Steps

Creating a folder and stylesheet for your child theme

Let's get started! Our first steps include choosing a parent theme, then creating a folder and stylesheet for our child theme.

To begin with, we'll just cut-and-paste some boilerplate code into our stylesheet.

(I've provided the sample code as a downloadable file for your convenience.)

Editing your child theme's stylesheet

Now that we have a dedicated stylesheet for our child theme, we need to edit it appropriately.

In this video, I explain what each line of the sample code means, and how to edit it with your own child theme information. (If you haven't already cut-and-pasted the boilerplate code into your child theme's stylesheet, I've provided the sample code as a downloadable file for your convenience.)

Let's get coding!

Check your progress!

Are you ready to check your progress? Let's see how you're doing!

Implementing Your Child Theme

Activating and testing your child theme

Now that we've got the bare-bones framework for our child theme, let's go back to the WordPress administrative dashboard and activate it.

Next, we'll test it to make sure it's working by adding the following code to our child theme's CSS stylesheet:

body { background-color: red; }

See how the background turned red? Bravo - your child theme is working!

Creating a custom screenshot for your child theme

You probably noticed that your child theme doesn't have a fancy screenshot. How boring!

We can fix that by uploading a file called "screenshot.png" into our child theme's folder. Make sure your image is saved in PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format, and measures 880 pixels wide by 660 pixels high.

I've provided a sample screenshot as an example. Feel free to use it for practice!

Check your progress!

Are you ready to check your progress? Let's see how you're doing!


Understanding FTP: File Transfer Protocol

What is FTP, and how do you use it? In this lesson, you'll learn:

  • The purpose of File Transfer Protocol
  • Where your live website files are stored, or "hosted"
  • What kind of software program you need to use FTP
  • How to use an FTP client (like Cyberduck) to connect to a web server
  • What three pieces of information you need to connect to a web server
Getting your files online using FTP

How do you upload and download files to and from a web server using FTP (File Transfer Protocol)? In this lesson, you'll learn:

  • How to navigate through files and folders on another server using an FTP client (such as Cyberduck)
  • How to use an FTP client (such as Cyberduck) to move files between your computer and a web server
  • How to view a website's stylesheet through any web browser
Editing your files online via FTP

How can you edit files directly on a server using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and a plain text editor? In this lesson, you'll learn:

  • How to save time when editing files online
  • How to configure Cyberduck to use your preferred text editor (TextWrangler or Notepad++) to edit files online
  • How to check the modification time of the files on your server using an FTP client (such as Cyberduck)

Wrapping Up


In this video, I give a quick review of the steps we took to create our child theme. I also provide a little bit of guidance for where to learn more about how to customize your child theme.

We only added a bit of CSS code in our example, but there's a lot more you can do with child themes.

If you want to change more than just the stylesheet, your child theme can overwrite any file in the parent theme. You can include a file of the same name in the child theme folder, and it will overwrite the equivalent file in the parent theme.

  • For example: if you want to change your site footer, you can include a file called footer.php in your child theme's folder, and that file will be used instead of the parent theme's footer.php file.

(An important exception: the functions.php of a child theme doesn't override its counterpart from the parent. Instead, it's loaded in addition to the parent's functions.php - and this is very useful, as you'll soon discover!)

You'll need to be comfortable with PHP in order to edit many of your theme files - which is beyond the scope of this beginner-level course. In the meantime, there's a lot you can learn simply by peeking at the code inside the php files in your parent theme.

The WordPress Codex is the best place to start to learn more!

Thank you!

Hurrah, you did it!

Thanks so much for joining me on this learning journey. I hope you enjoyed this course! If you did, please consider leaving a review in the course dashboard -- it helps me when I receive your feedback, and it also helps other Udemy students discover courses that best suit their learning style.

And as always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me.

Happy learning!

Bonus Lecture: Additional Resources

This bonus lecture provides additional resources and links to my other courses on Udemy so you can continue your learning.

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
4.1 out of 5
66 Ratings

Detailed Rating

Stars 5
Stars 4
Stars 3
Stars 2
Stars 1
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee


1 hours on-demand video
1 article
Full lifetime access
Access on mobile and TV
Certificate of Completion