Step-by-Step Guide to Create a Child Theme for WordPress

Create a child theme

To create a child theme is the first task to attend after you’ve activated the WordPress theme you’re going to use.

Whether you’re using the default WordPress theme, or a theme you’ve purchased from the market, you need to create a corresponding child theme as your first step.

Some theme sellers like Avada send a pre-packed child theme along with the parent theme. So, all you need is upload both to your WordPress installation, and then activate the child theme.

Refer the screenshot below.

Avada & StudioPress usually provide child theme

On the other hand, if you buy a theme from StudioPress, you’ll most likely get the Genesis Framework which is the parent theme, plus a child theme of your choice. In the screenshot above, I’ve purchased the Education Child Theme for my need.

In a majority of instances, it has to be your initiative to create a child theme, doing which is an absolute must.

Why need to create a child theme?

The answer to this lies in the versatile nature of WordPress.

When you work with WordPress, you realize that you can easily make changes to the appearance of your website by making alterations in the CSS file which is usually style.css.

This is very powerful because you can control the layout of multiple web pages all at once from just one place.

If you’re a bit adventurous, you may want to make additions or other changes in the functions.php file.

If you do those things to the parent theme, you’ll instantly lose them when the parent theme updates, which is fairly common.

A child theme will –

  • make your changes portable and replicable,
  • remove your worries of losing the changes you made whenever the parent theme is updated without destroying your modifications,
  • allow you to easily test the changes you make to the website appearance, and
  • cut your development time since you are not redoing the whole thing.

WordPress makes similar suggestions for creating and using child themes.

Can you create a child theme to an existing modified parent theme?

Although it is strongly suggested that you create a child theme immediately after installing the parent theme, many of you may not have done this for different reasons.

If that is the case, is it possible to create a child theme to your modified parent theme?

Fortunately, yes.

This however is best done with the help of a plugin.

Even when you are creating a child theme at the very start, the plugin I’m going to explain will serve you fine.

WordPress too recommends this, especially for creating a child theme to an already used and modified parent theme.

Coming to that shortly, but first let’s check out the plugin.

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