Firstly, let’s take a look at what a child theme actually is!
Let’s say you’ve got a new place to live, and the house needs decorating. You’ve spent a really long time creating the perfect masterpiece painting for your child’s bedroom and you step back to look at the whole painting to give yourself a pat on the back. You really love the painting and know they’re going to think your the coolest parent in the world, but there’s just this one small detail that you just can’t stand and you know it’s going to bug you. The Sun is brown. Yes, brown, somehow whilst being in the zone you’ve managed to dab the brown paint onto your brush and paint the sun brown. You know your child isn’t going to stand for that, and they’ll immediately pull you up on it. Because of course, at that age we all know they expect to see the sun in either Yellow, Orange or perhaps if they’re really adventurous Red.
Regardless, you’ve made the decision that you’re going to fix the painting. You get out the brushes and paints again and stare at the painting, you can’t help but think “I hope I don’t mess this up”.
What if there was a better way, a safety net? Imagine if you could click your fingers and wallah you’ve produced an exact replica of the painting. How amazing would that be? Think about it, then you would be able to work on that duplicate painting, amending the colour of the sun until your hearts content so you’re still going to the get that appraisal from your child when they walk in the door and run into their room! If you mess something up, you can simply throw it away and click your fingers again. When you finally do perfect the painting, you’ll proudly hang it on the wall. What about the original, with the brown sun though? Well, the beauty is that you can keep the original in the wardrobe.
If you make use of a WordPress child theme, then clicking your fingers is achievable. A child theme is another version of the same theme you’re using. However, the great thing about this is that the child theme will automatically copy everything across from your original theme, which you’ll now know it as “Parent theme”. With the above analogy in place, the original painting is the parent theme, and the second painting is the child theme.
Now it’s key to note that when we say copies everything across to the child theme, this is just not just a one off static copy. If you make a amendment later down the line to Parent theme then you’ll notice that the amendment will also happen on the child theme.