A child theme is like a protective layer that helps keep the core clean and free of issues.

A child theme in WordPress can be completely empty so that you’re really only using the parent theme (in this case, Canvas). So if the child theme is empty, why bother? Here’s why.

  1. Website –> Transportation
  2. WordPress –> Car
  3. WOO Themes –> Car Company (e.g. BMW)
  4. WOO Themes Canvas –> Model (e.g. BMW 525)
  5. WOO Themes Fresh Canvas –> James Bond-like protective shield plus you’re open to add features and styling galore.

[box]The main reason to use a child theme is so that you can easily update the parent (or main) theme without having to worry about any changes you might have made along the way.[/box]

To get a little technical, in WordPress, it’ll be mostly the functions.php file (features) and the style.css file (styling, CSS, look, layout). You can add to the functions file, edit, break it, try things out, delete it, and it’s all OK. Same goes for the style.css file for the child theme: play around, test, override the parent theme, and pull in CSS from elsewhere with custom styling. For example, add the code to the functions file to add a full-width slider in Canvas with just a bit of code in the child theme. Done.

[box type=”note”]When you have a child theme, all of the functions of the parent theme are still there. [/box]

Again, you can also have the child theme have an empty functions file and empty style sheet and you’re still in better shape.