6 Best Child Development Courses Online (Updated 2021)

When it comes to a child’s development, first impressions really do matter. Here are the best child development courses to support parents and professionals in their roles. 

6 Best Child Development Courses Online (Updated 2021)


Whether you’re a parent, an educator, or a professional in another career that involves working with children, there are many benefits that come from supplementing your learning and experience with an online child development course. 


Such a course will deepen your understanding of the external factors that influence children as they grow up, so you can monitor progress and detect delays, encourage activities that promote personal development, and provide young ones with the support they need to flourish into mature, responsible citizens. 


With this in mind, here is a breakdown of the best child development courses that are available online. 


These courses provide you with the opportunity to be instructed by child development specialists from world-class institutions, while learning at your own pace and from the comfort of your own home. 


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.


What are the Best Child Development Courses Online? 

Here are the best child development courses to enroll in online: 


1. Understanding Child Development: From Synapse to Society (Utrecht University)


This comprehensive course by Utrecht University in the Netherlands provides learners with an interdisciplinary approach to understanding child development. 


As you are guided on a journey from synapse to society, you will discover the complex nature of child development and how it is influenced by a surprisingly rich number of factors at many different levels of organization. 


More specifically, you will explore topics such as the brain and motor development, cognitive, language and social-emotional development, and other factors that continuously interact to shape development. 


Course Syllabus: 

  • Week 1: Introduction to Dynamics of Youth 
  • Week 2: Brain and Motor Development 
  • Week 3: Cognitive Development 
  • Week 4: Communication 
  • Week 5: Social-emotional development 
  • Week 6: The Big Picture 

Key course features:

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Beginner Level

  • Approx. 28 hours to complete.

=> Enroll in the Understanding Child Development online course here.


2. The Best Start in Life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development (SDG Academy)


  • How has a child’s brain developed at the age of 3?
  • How does nutrition impact the future well-being of a child into adulthood?
  • What does a successful early childhood care program look like? 


The Best Start in Life is an online child development course on edX that provides answers to the above questions and more. 


Taught by experts from top institutions including Harvard University, New York University and UNICEF, among others, this course will explore how neuroscience, sociology, anthropology and other studies have influenced our understanding of early childhood development.


What you will learn: 

  • All about the brain: how neurological makeup affects children’s development
  • The intersection of childcare, education and other programming with policies at the national level and beyond
  • Case studies: how factors such as forced migration impact a child’s future

Key course features: 

  • Length: 8 Weeks
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Effort: 2-4 hours per week
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time
  • Certificate available upon completion

=> Enroll in The Best Start in Life online course here


3. Autism Spectrum Disorder (University of California, Davis)


Understanding the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their implications for behavior, learning and the ability to process information is critical for those working in child development fields. 


This online course is designed to deepen your understanding of what ASD is, how it is diagnosed, the primary areas of impairment, and why prevalence is increasing. 


As you learn about how sensory regulation differs for individuals on the spectrum, you will discover evidence-based practices and tools for identifying triggers, communicating feelings, and providing effective interventions. 


Course Syllabus: 

  • Week 1: Course Information & Overview of ASD
  • Week 2: Developmental Differences in Autism Across the Lifespan
  • Week 3: Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Week 4: Understanding Sensory Regulation Differences
  • Week 5: Using Evidence-based Practices

The course concludes with a description of the ASD system of care, an overview of the National Standards Report studies and treatments, and an explanation of how the course topics are realistically implemented.


Key course features: 

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Approx. 6 hours to complete.



=> Enroll in the Autism Spectrum Disorder online course here


4. Everyday Parenting: The ABCs of Child Rearing (Yale University)


This popular course by Yale University gives you access to a toolkit of behavior-change techniques that will support you in reaching and teaching both children and adolescents. 


Among many techniques, you will learn how to increase compliance by adjusting your tone of voice and phrasing. The course will also shed light on many parenting misconceptions and ineffective strategies that are commonly used.


Course Syllabus: 

Week 1: Antecedents & Behaviors

Week 2: Consequences

Week 3: Troubleshooting and Adolescents

Week 4: Special Topics and Conclusion


Key course features: 

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Beginner Level

  • Approx. 21 hours to complete. 

=> Enroll in the Everyday Parenting online course here


5. Developmental Psychology: A Journey of Growth Within Relationships (IsraelX)


Developmental psychology is a key child development topic and a core academic course in the first and second years of many different fields of study. 


In this edX course, you will embark on a journey into the emotional, social and cognitive world of children.


In particular, you will examine the nature of significant relationships during early childhood and how these relationships continue to shape our personalities and affect our intimate relationships, our parenting styles and even our work styles as adults.


You will learn about: 

  • What a developmental approach to psychology is
  • Prenatal development and the influence of risk factors during pregnancy
  • The effect of genetic versus environmental factors on human development
  • Emotional regulation and containment in early childhood
  • The development of the self and gender roles
  • Emotional, cognitive, social, and physical development in early childhood
  • Attachment patterns during infancy, and their influence on adult life

Key course features:

  • Length: 9 Weeks
  • Level: Introductory
  • Effort: 3-4 hours per week
  • Course Type: Instructor-led on a course schedule
  • Certificate available upon completion

=> Enroll in this Developmental Psychology online course here.


6. Motivating Gen Z Learners: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know (Nanyang Technological University)


This engaging course by Nanyang Technological University is designed to equip parents and educators with the knowledge of motivational theories and their application in real-life contexts. 


Following the storyline of two children, Bob and Sarah, the course presents a variety of scenarios that depict common motivational issues in child development. 


Through a series of interactive lessons, participants will build a repertoire of useful strategies that enable them to better understand Gen Z learners and ways to enhance their motivation to learn. 


Course Syllabus: 

  • Week 1: Understanding what motivates behavior: Do punishments and rewards work?
  • Week 2: Looking into the Needs of Learners: Needs-Based Theories of Motivation
  • Week 3: Mindsets and Causal Attributions for Success and Failure
  • Week 4: The Self-Regulated Learner

Key course features: 

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Beginner Level

  • Approx. 8 hours to complete. 

=> Enroll in the Motivating Gen Z Learners online course here.


Final Thoughts


Thanks for checking out this compilation of the best child development courses online. Hopefully you've found a course or two that appeals to your particular learning goals and interests. 


The great thing about the above courses is that they enable you to explore concepts beyond your field of study or experience, enhancing your knowledge and skills as a teacher, guardian, or mentor. 


Additionally, these child development courses provide you with an opportunity to earn a widely-recognized online credential, which helps to bolster both your professional reputation and your career prospects. 


Happy learning!


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