Should I Take a Parenting Class?

parents with newborn baby

The purpose of parenting classes is to help parents feel more connected, involved and focused on their child. Parenting classes provide advice, strategies, and tools on how to raise children and provide an opportunity for parents to share ideas and concerns with parents going through similar issues.

These classes educate parents on how to take care of their babies, toddlers, and teens. Parents come away from classes feeling more confident about and more supported in their parenting decisions. Additionally, there are many different types of parenting classes, so whatever your situation, there is likely a parenting class to fit your needs.

Expecting Parents

As a first time parent, it is normal to feel anxious about bringing a child into the world. It is both an exciting and scary experience. Many expecting parents ease their worries by taking childbirth and newborn baby classes. Childbirth classes discuss topics including labor and delivery, coping strategies during labor, epidurals and pain medications, medical procedures, and what to expect at the hospital or birthing center during labor and throughout the recovery period.

Under the same umbrella are infant care classes, which teach parents the basics of raising a newborn. These topics may include feeding, sleeping, bathing, and learning to soothe your baby.

Expecting and new parents also often take CPR and safety classes to learn what to do in case of an emergency.

New Parent and Infant Classes

Once the baby is born, there are new mom and new dad classes that offer support and guidance. These classes are also a good way to make new friends in your area who have children the same age as yours. Many moms also take breastfeeding classes to help learn the skills to nurse their baby. There are also classes to support infant development, which are designed to support the natural development of infants through movement, music, massage, and tummy time. These classes are a bit of a mix between a parenting class and a baby class.

Classes for Specific Groups

There are specialized classes for parents whose children are gifted, delayed, or have developmental or medical issues. These classes provide strategies and resources and offer support for managing the issues facing their family. There are groups for parents who have adopted or foster children.

There are also classes that teach co-parenting skills to parents who are divorced. These classes may be mandated by the court system. Even if the class is not required, co-parenting classes are important so parents can learn how to concentrate on the needs of the children and not let parental needs become the center of the divorce.

Another group of classes is based on parenting style or philosophy, such as classes on positive parenting, attachment parenting, and active parenting. These classes are based on a parenting “theory” and information and practical tips are provided based on books or videos.

Child Development and Behavioral Classes

There are many classes tailored to understanding child development stages and issues that arise between ages 0 to 5. Some classes provide information on developmental stages and how to deal with toddler tantrums, power struggles, potty training, sleep issues, sibling rivalry, and other behavioral concerns. Child development classes are offered for parents with children at all age groups, after all, raising a teenager is just as hard as raising a toddler.

Where to Take a Parenting Class

Parenting classes are offered at many different places, such as hospitals, preschools, pediatrician's offices, social service facilities, and on the Internet.

For childbirth class, infant care classes and new mom support, ask your gynecologist for recommendations.

Parenting classes range in price from no cost to hundreds of dollars. Childbirth, labor and delivery, and infant classes are the most costly, particularly in urban areas. Parenting classes that are structured as a series of classes are often more costly than a one-time class.

Something very similar to a parenting class, but offered in a slightly different format, is an online parenting conference. The benefit of online parenting classes or conferences is that parents can listen from the comfort of their home and on their own schedule. Some online parenting courses may be free, but then you can purchase the recordings afterward to listen at your leisure. If you don't have the ability to attend a class, sometimes you can join a live webinar or Facebook Live event to be able to ask questions from home.

A Word From Verywell

Parenting classes are a wonderful way to increase your confidence, acquire new skills and strategies, learn more about your child's development, and improve your relationship with your child and partner. There is a parenting class to fit the need of every family.

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Child Welfare Information Gateway. Children's Bureau/ACF/HHS. Parent Education Programs.

  2. Kovala S, Cramp AG, Xia L. Prenatal education: Program content and preferred delivery method from the perspective of the expectant parentsJ Perinat Educ. 2016;25(4):232‐241. doi:10.1891/1058-1243.25.4.232

  3. Barimani M, Forslund Frykedal K, Rosander M, Berlin A. Childbirth and parenting preparation in antenatal classesMidwifery. 2018;57:1‐7. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2017.10.021

  4. Collins Cl, Fetsh RJ. A Review and Critique of 16 Major Parent Education Programs. J Ext. 2012;50(4):v50-4a8.

Additional Reading

By Jill Ceder, LMSW, JD
Jill Ceder, LMSW, JD is a psychotherapist working with women, children, adolescents, couples and families.