How To Create A WordPress Little one Theme


When you could have particular necessities, deciding on a WordPress theme is not any simple activity. Your alternative must look the half and supply all of the capabilities you want — Some compromise is nearly inevitable.

Customizing your chosen theme is one option to get round this situation. Nonetheless, WordPress themes must be up to date periodically. When the developer of your theme releases a brand new model, all of your customizations could possibly be reset.

The answer?

Create a WordPress youngster theme that inherits the unique theme’s performance however maintains your styling. Even in case you apply a theme replace, your custom-made youngster theme will stay intact.

On this put up, we’re going to take a better have a look at WordPress youngster themes — from why you want one to how one can create your individual. Let’s dive in!

What Is A Little one Theme?

DreamHost Glossary

Little one Theme

A ‘youngster theme’ is a WordPress theme with the identical look and performance as its ‘dad or mum theme’. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to customise its recordsdata individually from its dad or mum theme’s recordsdata.

Learn Extra

WordPress means that you can make a light-weight copy of any theme for the sake of customization. The unique theme turns into the dad or mum theme, and the copy is called a toddler theme.

The kid relies on the dad or mum, drawing on the capabilities and design of the unique theme. When the dad or mum theme receives an replace, so does the kid.

However very similar to an adolescent, the kid theme does have some independence. Once you customise the kid theme, the adjustments are utilized on prime of the unique dad or mum theme. These additions stay, even when the dad or mum theme is up to date or modified in another approach.

It’s additionally value noting that customizations to your youngster theme don’t have an effect on the dad or mum theme. In truth, they’re saved individually. This implies you could have freedom to experiment, with out worrying about breaking the underlying code. You may even delete your youngster theme fully, and it’ll don’t have any impact on the unique dad or mum theme.

Utilizing a toddler theme makes it simpler to take care of and replace your web site. It should additionally show you how to keep away from the chance of enhancing the dad or mum theme straight, which could possibly be overwritten and misplaced.

Variations Between Little one And Mother or father Themes

DreamHost Glossary

Mother or father Theme

When working with WordPress youngster themes, there’s all the time a dad or mum theme. It’s the theme that the kid inherits its fashion and performance from. Any adjustments to the kid theme received’t impression the dad or mum’s code.

Learn Extra

There are a number of technical variations between a dad or mum theme and a toddler theme. For instance, a dad or mum theme folder sometimes contains:

  • A fashion.css file that determines the feel and appear of your web site.
  • A capabilities.php file that lets you add options or modify the default habits of WordPress.
  • A number of template recordsdata that outline how completely different pages in your web site are displayed.

In distinction, a toddler theme folder solely wants two important recordsdata: fashion.css and capabilities.php. You’ll add these recordsdata inside the /wp-content/themes/ listing.

You should utilize a toddler theme to make stylistic adjustments to your web site, resembling altering the default shade palette, fonts, and layouts.

For instance, let’s say you need to change your web site’s shade scheme. You are able to do this by creating a brand new fashion.css file within the youngster theme listing and including the next code:

physique {



h1 {

shade: #000


We’ve modified the background shade and H1 shade within the code above. These edits will override the dad or mum theme’s styling and replace the colours in your web site. You may make as many adjustments as wanted within the youngster theme’s fashion.css file.

A baby theme inherits every little thing from the dad or mum theme. This contains all template recordsdata, capabilities, and property resembling photographs and JavaScript recordsdata. If you wish to make adjustments to those parts, it’s essential copy them into the kid theme listing from the dad or mum theme. You may then edit the recordsdata.

Why You Ought to Use A Little one Theme

There are a number of benefits to utilizing a toddler theme in your WordPress web site, together with:

  • Defending theme adjustments towards computerized updates.
  • Adjusting visible parts of your theme.
  • Studying how one can edit themes, which is a step towards creating your individual theme.

Utilizing a toddler theme additionally requires minimal coding expertise. Generally, you solely want so as to add a number of strains of code to the fashion.css file. This makes it simple to get began with a toddler theme, even in case you’re not a theme developer.

For those who do need to dive deeper, you’ll be able to add new parts and capabilities to your youngster theme through customized code.

Get Content material Delivered Straight to Your Inbox

Subscribe to our weblog and obtain nice content material similar to this delivered straight to your inbox.

How To Create A WordPress Little one Theme Utilizing A Plugin

Utilizing a plugin might be the simplest option to create a WordPress youngster theme. The plugin can stroll you thru the complete course of in easy steps, which means you don’t want any technical information.

On this tutorial, we’ll be working with the Little one Theme Configurator plugin. This user-friendly device will help you analyze your theme for points, create a toddler theme, and edit it to fulfill your internet design format and elegance specs.

Step 1: Obtain And Set up The Little one Theme Configurator Plugin

To begin, you’ll have to obtain and set up Little one Theme Configurator. You are able to do this by navigating to the plugin’s web page and clicking on the Obtain button:

Child Theme Configurator by Lilaea Media screenshot of download button

Your laptop will obtain the theme recordsdata in a ZIP file. Then, navigate to your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New to add the recordsdata.

Click on on Add Plugin > Select File, and choose the downloaded folder:

Add plugins "upload plugin" screenshot where you can upload a .zip file

As soon as the plugin is put in, you’ll simply have to activate it. Remember the fact that you’ll additionally have to select a WordPress theme from which to make your youngster theme.

Step 2: Analyze The Mother or father Theme

Subsequent, navigate to Instruments > Little one Themes:

wordpress menu showing the nav bar where you can find "child themes" in "tools"

The plugin will stroll you thru the steps to create a toddler theme. Merely choose CREATE a brand new Little one Theme to get began:

screenshot of the first step: select an action with "create a new child theme" selected

You’ll be prompted to pick your dad or mum theme from the dropdown menu. In case you have a number of themes in your WordPress web site, be certain that to decide on the one you need to customise:

step 2: select a parent theme showing a search bar which "Twenty Twenty-Four" entered all all four versions of Twenty Teenty displaying as search results

Now hit Analyze to verify the dad or mum theme for any potential code points:

step 2: analyze parent theme

If the plugin finds any compatibility or coding points, it should listing them right here. In any other case, you’ll see a inexperienced success message telling you it’s effective to proceed with making the kid theme:

screenshot of the analysis page showing a check mark that this theme appears OK to use as a child theme and the relevant code

When you’ve decided that your dad or mum theme will probably be appropriate for a kid theme, you’ll be able to transfer on to the following step. (You can too present a uncooked knowledge evaluation or submit assist requests to the plugin’s creator from this web page.)

Step 3: Identify Your Little one Theme Listing

Subsequent, you’ll be prompted to create a toddler theme listing title. That is the title of the folder inside your web site’s recordsdata.

You may title it something you want so long as it’s distinctive to your web site and accommodates acceptable characters. We’re utilizing “twentytwentyfour-child” for simplicity’s sake:

You can name child theme anything you like as long as it's unique to your site and contains acceptable characters.

Remember the fact that naming the theme listing shouldn’t be the identical as naming your youngster theme or including a theme description. These steps will come later.

Step 4: Choose The Little one And Mother or father Theme Stylesheets

Subsequent, you’ll want to decide on the brand new stylesheet in your youngster theme. If you choose the first stylesheet (fashion.css), your customized CSS kinds will override the present theme content material.

DreamHost Glossary


Cascading Model Sheets (CSS) is a necessary coding language used for styling webpages. CSS helps you create lovely pages by modifying the looks of varied parts, together with font fashion, shade, format, and extra.

Learn Extra

That is the default possibility, and we suggest selecting it in case you’re new to youngster themes:

step 5: select where to save new styles with "primary stylesheet" selected instead of "separate stylesheet"

You’ll now be prompted to decide on your dad or mum theme stylesheet dealing with technique. There are numerous choices, however we suggest sticking with Use the WordPress fashion queue for many use instances:

step 6: select parent theme stylesheet handling with "use the wordpress style queue" selected

As a newbie, it’s higher to make use of the default possibility till you’re extra conversant in how the dad or mum theme handles the stylesheet. The opposite choices aren’t all the time appropriate with all themes.

Step 5: Identify Your Little one Theme

The subsequent step is to call your youngster theme and write an outline for it.

step 7: customer the child theme name, description, author, version, etc. with respective text boxes in the attributes editor

Little one Theme Configurator will pull the default data out of your dad or mum theme and show it right here. For those who’re merely making a toddler theme for private use, you’ll be able to go away the information as-is.

Nonetheless, in case your dad or mum theme will function the premise for a brand new theme you’re creating, you would possibly need to add a short description and a singular title.

Step 6: Copy The Mother or father Settings To The Little one Theme

The plugin will now ask you to verify that it may possibly copy the dad or mum theme’s settings to your youngster theme:

step 8: copy menus, widgets, and other customizer settings from the parents theme to the child theme with the checkbox selected

This step will be certain that your youngster theme pulls its performance and look from the dad or mum theme. Observe that in case you’re working with a premium or restricted theme because the dad or mum, you could not be capable of carry out this step.

Step 7: Create Your New Little one Theme And Preview It

The ultimate step is to make your youngster theme. Click on on the Create New Little one Theme button and look forward to the plugin to do its job:

step 9: click to run the configurator and "create new child theme" button

You need to get a notification that your youngster theme was created efficiently:

child theme twenty twenty-four child has been generated successfully

At all times preview your youngster theme earlier than activating it in your web site. This step will show you how to confirm that every little thing is working because it ought to. Then, hit Activate & Publish to get began along with your youngster theme.

How To Manually Create A WordPress Little one Theme

For those who’d reasonably not use a plugin to create your youngster theme, you need to use the guide technique. You would possibly choose this route in case you’re already utilizing too many plugins in your web site.

Moreover, manually making a WordPress youngster theme allows you to make all of the adjustments you need at a granular degree. Simply consider you’ll want an intermediate information of CSS code.

Right here’s a step-by-step information:

Step 1: Develop A Plan For Your Modifications

First, discover a dad or mum theme you want and listing the adjustments you need to make. You may view the developer instruments and see the theme’s code to make the right adjustments.

To view the developer instruments, right-click wherever in your web site whereas operating the theme and choose Examine Aspect. You’ll then see a web page of information that appears one thing like this:

blue screen of code with "background-color" highlighted in three places

Right here, you’ll be able to seek for background colours, font data, margin dimension, and extra. Then, you may make an inventory of options you’d like to regulate in your youngster theme.

Step 2: Again Up Your Web site

It’s important to again up your present web site earlier than making any adjustments to keep away from shedding your settings. You may all the time revert to this backup if wanted. You may also think about using a staging web site in case you make vital errors.

There are a few other ways to again up your web site. You are able to do it manually utilizing a backup plugin, which might be the simplest technique for most individuals.

Alternatively, you’ll be able to associate with a WordPress internet hosting supplier that takes care of web site backups. Our DreamPress managed internet hosting plans embrace computerized and on-demand backups to safeguard your knowledge.

Step 3: Create A Folder For Your Little one Theme

You’ll have to create a folder to retailer your youngster theme recordsdata. To realize this, first entry your recordsdata through a Safe File Switch Protocol (SFTP) shopper resembling Filezilla and navigate to the themes folder:

files showing where theme files live under wp-content>themes

Right here, you’ll be able to create a brand new listing in your youngster theme. Make a brand new folder that carries the dad or mum theme’s title and add “-child” to the top.

For instance, in case your dad or mum theme listing is known as “twentytwentyfour”, your youngster theme listing will probably be known as “twentytwentyfour-child”.

Step 4: Make A Stylesheet For Your Little one Theme

Now you’ll have to make a brand new textual content file and title it “fashion.css”. This file will type the premise of your youngster theme. It should want some primary header data, together with its title, URL, description, and extra:

style sheet with 8 lines showing each written out line of the theme name, URL, description, author, author URL, parent theme, version, and text domain

Now save and add the fashion.css file to the listing folder you simply made.

Step 5: Enqueue The Stylesheets

Subsequent, you’ll have to enqueue the dad or mum and youngster theme stylesheets.

The enqueue operate ensures that your youngster theme will take its fashion knowledge from the dad or mum theme. It additionally means that you can edit the kid theme with out affecting its dad or mum.

Make a brand new capabilities file in your youngster theme listing and title it “capabilities.php”. You may then inform your youngster theme to reference the bottom theme by including the next code:


add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'enqueue_parent_styles' );

operate enqueue_parent_styles() {

wp_enqueue_style( 'parent-style', get_template_directory_uri().'/fashion.css' );



Save the textual content file and navigate to your WordPress dashboard to activate the theme.

Step 6: Activate The Little one Theme

Lastly, it’s time to activate your youngster theme. You may add it manually by going to Look > Themes > Add. Then, select a .zip model of your youngster theme listing:

wordpress sidebar nav showing you can find themes under appearance

Activate your youngster theme. It ought to now be stay!

How To Customise Your Little one Theme

When you’ve activated your new youngster theme, it’s time to take it for a spin. There are a number of other ways you’ll be able to customise the design and performance.

One precept to remember is that WordPress robotically seems for recordsdata within the youngster listing earlier than scanning the dad or mum theme recordsdata. This implies any stylesheet or template you add to your youngster theme will take priority over the identical file within the dad or mum folder.

The kid-before-parent system offers us a great deal of choices.

Creating Customized Types

For primary design adjustments that aren’t coated by the Theme Choices panel, you’ll be able to create your individual customized kinds. Generally, you’ll be able to merely rewrite present dad or mum styling guidelines in a brand new stylesheet.

The easiest way to search out the CSS you need to modify is through the use of the Inspector Instruments in your browser. You may have a look at the CSS and the HTML behind any webpage by right-clicking on it and deciding on Examine Aspect.

On the backside or the fitting aspect of your display screen, you’ll discover the code for the web page. Hover your mouse over the code and spotlight the HTML in sections:

inspect code showing the various HMTL sections

As you hover, it should additionally show the CSS guidelines. You may edit the CSS straight with the developer instruments to see the way it seems.

inspect page HTML code showing the span class and background color in HTML

On this instance, we modified the background shade from “#9888fd” to “#9888fe” to see how it could look. The background shade will change immediately, but it surely’s not everlasting.

You now want to repeat the CSS rule and add it to the fashion.css file of your youngster theme like this:

physique {

Background-color: #9888fe;


Save these adjustments within the fashion.css file and return to your WordPress dashboard to preview the theme. This course of would possibly require trial and error, so take your time to excellent the fashion.

Override Mother or father Templates

Simply as we are able to create a brand new stylesheet for customized CSS, it’s potential to override dad or mum templates with new content material. This lets you make wholesale adjustments to the construction of particular elements of your web site — such because the header and navigation menu, the footer, or the one posts template.

Let’s think about that you simply need to change the weblog put up format in your youngster theme, so the title of every put up seems above the featured picture.

This part of your web site is managed by the content material.php template file. To begin making adjustments, obtain a duplicate of content material.php from the dad or mum folder through SFTP.

Subsequent, open the kid template in your textual content editor. You would possibly see one thing like this:


<!-- Title and different header data right here -->

To regulate the format of your header, you would possibly change the code to learn:

<!-- Title and different header data right here -->

// Submit thumbnail

Lastly, save the file and add it to the kid theme folder. Be certain to retain the unique title of the file, in any other case WordPress received’t acknowledge your edited template.

Customized Web page Templates

Need one thing completely completely different? You can too add model new templates to your youngster theme.

The method is precisely like creating templates for an everyday theme, besides you might also have to create customized header and footer templates. These recordsdata must be referenced in your new customized template — and don’t overlook so as to add some new CSS through the present youngster stylesheet.

Creating New PHP Features

If you wish to introduce new options in your youngster theme, you’ll be able to create a toddler capabilities.php file. This works in tandem with the dad or mum capabilities file, reasonably than changing it.

As such, you don’t have to make a duplicate of the unique file — merely write any further scripts you need to add on prime. The kid capabilities file will run first, adopted by the dad or mum model.

Including a capabilities file to your youngster theme opens up an entire vary of prospects. For instance, you can:

  • Register new widgets and shortcodes.
  • Add customized put up sorts and taxonomies.
  • Create new theme choices.
  • Hook up exterior stylesheets and JavaScript recordsdata.
  • Lay the groundwork for translating and localizing content material.
  • Override sure dad or mum theme capabilities.

You may be taught extra about creating these capabilities in our full information to capabilities.php.

Utilizing Theme Hooks

Probably the most environment friendly approach of including options to your new capabilities file is through the use of hooks.

Hooks are a part of the core performance of WordPress. They can help you alter numerous elements of your web site with out having to edit particular person templates.

As an alternative, you merely assign your code to the related hook within the capabilities file. WordPress will then robotically apply this code to matching parts within the dad or mum theme.

In WordPress, hooks are available in two varieties:

  • Motion Hooks: Used to “hook” customized code into particular elements of your WordPress theme, resembling a brand new widget space or a customized message to be displayed after every weblog put up.
  • Filter Hooks: Used to switch content material generated both by WordPress or a dad or mum theme, earlier than it’s despatched to a browser or saved within the database. By way of youngster themes, they’re most frequently used to regulate the size of excerpts.

Most hooks solely require a small code snippet. For instance, right here’s the code you would want for including some content material to the footer of your web site:

operate my_custom_footer_content() {
echo '<div>Customized footer content material right here</div>';
add_action('wp_footer', 'my_custom_footer_content');

You see that ‘wp_footer’ bit? That’s the hook, and it tells WordPress the place this code must go. On this case, your customized operate ought to come straight after the footer template — wherever that’s invoked inside your theme. Neat, huh?

WordPress Little one Theme FAQs

We’d wish to assume this information has been fairly complete up to now. However in case you nonetheless have questions hanging, we have now solutions:

Ought to I activate dad or mum or youngster theme in WordPress?

There’s a easy rule right here: activate the theme you need to use.

If you wish to revert to the unique design as your lively theme, activate the dad or mum. However if you wish to allow these superb customizations, make sure you activate the kid theme.

What are the disadvantages of utilizing a toddler theme?

There aren’t many disadvantages to utilizing a toddler theme. It’s a little bit extra technical than customizing your web site through the Dashboard. To expand adjustments, you will have not less than some primary information of HTML, CSS, and PHP.

It’s additionally value noting {that a} poorly optimized youngster theme can decelerate your web site, and also you’re all the time going to be reliant on the dad or mum theme.

Can a toddler theme exist and not using a dad or mum theme?

Nope, a toddler theme doesn’t work and not using a dad or mum theme.

The idea of a kid theme is inherently depending on a dad or mum theme. Keep in mind that the dad or mum provides every little thing apart from the customized kinds and templates you add. What’s extra, the entire folder construction of your web site can be tousled in case you eliminated the dad or mum folder.

If you wish to separate out your youngster design, think about changing it to a standalone theme.

Can you could have a number of youngster themes for one dad or mum theme?

Sure, you’ll be able to. This implies you’ll be able to craft a number of variations of the identical web site to go well with completely different audiences. You might even run A/B testing this fashion.

What are the perfect WordPress youngster theme creator plugins?

Together with Little one Theme Configurator, which we labored with earlier, try WP Little one Theme Generator and Little one Theme Wizard. has its very personal experimental youngster theme plugin, too. It’s known as Create Block Theme.

What’s the distinction between a toddler theme and a customized theme?

Dependency might be the most important distinction. A baby theme leans on the core recordsdata of a dad or mum theme, whereas a customized theme stands alone.

That independence signifies that theme builders can introduce new core options and extra customization. On the flip aspect, it’s essential be snug with code to create and preserve a customized theme.

It requires far more growth time to construct an entire theme from scratch, as effectively.

Defend Your Theme Customizations And Updates

Utilizing a toddler theme helps you keep away from the issues of enhancing a dad or mum theme straight. A baby theme is simple to regulate, enabling you to make sweeping design adjustments to an present web site. Plus, it isn’t affected by computerized theme updates.

Right here’s a fast recap of how one can create a toddler theme manually:

  • Make a plan.
  • Again up your present web site.
  • Create a folder in your youngster theme utilizing an SFTP shopper.
  • Make a mode sheet and add it to your web site.
  • Enqueue the kid and dad or mum theme stylesheets.
  • Activate and preview your youngster theme.
  • Make adjustments utilizing CSS.

Having a gorgeous theme is only one a part of operating a profitable web site. You’ll additionally want a internet hosting supplier that matches your wants. Take a look at DreamHost’s shared internet hosting packages for inexpensive plans that prioritize web site efficiency, with 100% uptime assured!

We Make WordPress Simpler for You

Go away migrating your web site, putting in WordPress, managing safety and updates, and optimizing server efficiency to us. Now you’ll be able to give attention to what issues most: rising your web site.

Managed WordPress Hosting - DreamPress