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How do I sign up for a Canvas account as a parent?

How do I sign up for a Canvas account as a parent?

Parents can sign up as an observer in Canvas. Observers can link their Canvas account to their student's account so they can see assignment dues dates, announcements, and other course content. Observers can view the course content but cannot participate in the course. 

This lesson is for parents who do not have a Canvas account and want to observe their students in their courses. In order to create a Canvas account, you will need the Canvas URL associated with the institution where your student is enrolled. If you do not know your institution's Canvas URL, contact the institution.

If you already have an account from your student's institution, log in to Canvas using the credentials given to you.


  • If the registration banner is not available in the login page, the institution has not enabled this feature. Please contact your student's institution for assistance. The registration banner is enabled through Canvas authentication.
  • To observe a student, you must have a student pairing code.
  • Once you have an account, you may be able to view student information through the Canvas Parent app. Access to the Canvas Parent app is controlled by the student's institution. If you already have an account from your student's institution as an observer, you can always view student information through the Canvas Parent app.

Open Canvas URL

Open Canvas URL

In a browser window, enter your institution's Canvas URL (e.g.

Note: If you do not know your institution's Canvas URL, contact the institution.

Create Canvas Account

Create Canvas Account

Click the Need a Canvas Account? link.

Sign Up As a Parent (Free Account)

Sign Up As a Parent (Free Account)

Click the Parents sign up here link.

Enter Signup Details

Enter Signup Details

Enter the following information:

  1. Enter your name in the Your Name field.
  2. Enter your email in the Your Email field.
  3. Enter your password in the Password field.
  4. Re-enter your password in the Re-enter Password field.
  5. Enter a paring code to link your account to your student in the Student Pairing Code field.
  6. Agree to the terms of use by clicking the You agree to the terms of use checkbox.
  7. Click the Start Participating button.

Note: Students can generate pairing codes from their User Settings. Depending on institution permissions, admins and instructors may also be able to generate pairing codes.

Begin Observing

You can begin observing your student in Canvas immediately.

Learn how to observe additional students in your account.

Learn how to modify your Canvas notification preferences.


Mobile app has error page: "Not a Parent/ We couldn't find any students associated with this account." Web page says "Students being observed: [my kid's name]." What is the problem and how do I fix it?

Hi @diecidue,

Is the term open and the courses published? You may not be able to view your student's courses until the term is open on the Parent App.

Best wishes,



  I'm having an issue with the parent login.  I clicked the create account, input all the requirements, and the first kid's code.  When I went back to do the second kid, instead of 'create', I just went to the log in.  It came up with an error that my username was wrong and/or password.  Rather than lock myself out (not sure if that can happen), I asked for a reset.  2 hours later, still waiting. My password is at least 8 characters long, has upper & lowercase letters, numbers, and I used a "+" as a special character.  I also tried to create an account again (in case it didn't take) and it said my email was already in use. Thanks for any help!

Hi ~

I am logged in on the parent access panel for my district (CCSD, NV) and my son is linked to my account and it states I am paired with him and observing.

I cannot see any of his classes and they were all published and began yesterday.

We have a CCSD help desk but the last time I called it was over 35 minutes before a person came on the phone or I was disconnected.  I am a teacher and the district requires me to be live in my Google Meet all day so I cannot take hours of the work day to sit on hold.

There appears to be a glitch on Canvas' end and I would appreciate if someone could fix that.  I have been an observer on my son's classes for a few years now and never had them not show up.

Thank you in advance for any sort of help and solution.

I get an observer code from my son's canvas account, but when I enter it to create my parent account, I tells me it's an invalid pairing code. Please help!


Does anyone know where I can find the module's study guide answer keys?

Hi @LisaSD

I'm so sorry to hear that you're struggling to log in! It's hard to know what could be happening with your account. When you logged in, did you use your personal email address, or did you try logging in with your student's school-issued email address? It'd also be important to note whether you're using Canvas in a web browser or the Canvas Parent app on a mobile device. If you want to reply with additional details, my teammates and I will do our best to help you. 



Hi @shell,

I'm not a support agent myself, but I will see what I can do to help out. First of all, can you see any courses when you click the All Courses link? Are there any course invitations in your email that might still need to be accepted? Are you using the most recent browser version?



Have you entered the pairing code exactly as it displays with no extra spaces? Has the pairing code been used already by another person or was it generated longer than one week ago? You may want to try generating a new pairing code from your son's account to see if that resolves the issue or if the problem persists.



Thanks for adding your comment to the Canvas guides and welcome to the Canvas Community! The Canvas Community is a global resource which holds how-to guides and forums to help users find answers to Canvas-related questions. You may want to reach out to someone at your school or class for more assistance with locating a resource like answer keys.


Hi, I am a teacher with CCSD and I am trying to create a parent account to be an observer for my kids' accounts.  I used my personal email and when I enter the pairing code it comes back as an invalid code.  I tried generating a new code and when I entered that it took me to the login screen but didn't create an account.  I also tried logging in with a QR code and it says I am not enrolled as a parent.  But I can't create a parent account without a pairing code.  I tried two different children with the same result.  I am out of ideas.  Please help.

Hi @threeinlv,

Thanks for posting your questions. When you go to create a parent account, are you first navigating to the Canvas URL of your student's school? If not, that may be why you're receiving an invalid code error. Also, just curious, are you creating a parent account from the Canvas Parent app or a web browser? If creating using the Parent app, I'd recommend trying it in a web browser.


I was able to sign in but it is telling me "we couldn't find any students associated with this account: return to login

Hi @socalgirl1821,

That is definitely strange. Did you enter a pairing code when you created your account to pair you with a student? Also, when you log in, do you have access to the Help link in the left Navigation Menu? If so, you could use this to reach out to Canvas Support for troubleshooting help. 


@Cody ~ Thank you for at least attempting to respond.

Yes, in courses I see my courses and see past courses I was observing for my son.  No, there are no invitations in my email to join a course as an observer.  

I talked with other families of high school aged children and they are experiencing the same thing.  There is something wrong with your system for CCSD.  I am honestly speechless that an LMS went on a bigger scale without upgrading servers or systems to accommodate the increased number of users in a District.

Canvas knows this is not working in CCSD and instead of trying to make parents go through all the same steps again just admit it is not working yet and you will let us know when it is working.

Be honest.

Thank you.

Hi Shell,

I'm sorry to hear that you and other parents that you have had contact with recently are having difficulty locating your children's information in Canvas as observers. That must add to what is already a stressful time for everybody. Thankfully even with the massive increase in use this fall start, Canvas has not had any major outages or failures due to being able to scale additional cloud servers as demand has spiked.  If you haven't received an invitation from your child's school district I suggest you contact your local district.  Creating pairing codes and initiating those contacts is something your district would do, versus it being done by someone at Instructure.

Hello, I'm trying to sign up as a parent for, but I only see Browse courses on the upper right corner, instead of Need a Canvas Account? link. Could you kindly trouble shoot for me please? Thank you!

Hi @spritejudy,

If this link is not visible to you, it is likely that your school has disabled the option for some users to create their accounts manually. I would suggest reaching out to your school to see if they manage account creation for you.


@scottdennis If you read my initial post you would know I am already paired with my son's Canvas account.  I have been an observer on his account for four years and can still see his prior classes but his current classes are not populating.  This is a known issue with CCSD.  I am also a teacher here and we stopped giving parents the pairing instructions since it does not work yet "due to the spike in users".

Yes, there is an incredible increase in users.  Our Canvas has only been inaccessible two mornings our of the 10 school days we have had and was up by 9am so my son only missed one class each time.

Our CCSD Canvas portal has no "contact information" so we can call and only redirects users to this forum.

I assume Canvas is aware that the fifth largest school district in the nation has not been able to provide families access to their students' courses as observers and are working to correct the problem instead of misdirecting concerned parents. 

Please just comment back when you confirm the issue has been resolved.  Thank you in advance ~ Sj

I’ve generated two a pair code but the parent login keeps saying it’s invalid. This is very frustrating…


Please use the Report a Problem option from the app or your browser so someone can look into this further.


I am the parent of a Richmond County BOE student. I have followed the instructions for signing up as an observer for Canvas for the parents. When I click on need an account, I do not get the page "Sign up for free, I am a teacher, I am a parent. It goes straight to my daughter's Canvas account. Please advise.


If you log out of your daughter's account and try again,  do you get the same result? You may also want to try creating an account from the Parent app


I am trying to set up an observer account as a parent of a high school senior, using a pairing code. Canvas is telling me my email is already associated with an account. I found the old password from my  (now graduated) older daughter's high school, but it appears that Canvas has ME as a student (it says I don't have any classes, assignments, etc). I have over 50 notifications so far this year from my current student's teachers about assignments, grades, and announcements. I would really like to see them, but cannot. So, I am trying to find a way to delete my own "student" account so I can pair the observer account with my email. What can I do? This is so frustrating. Nowhere on the canvas site does it tell how to delete an account. I am using my computer, not phone app.

Hi @cmfurnia,

Does your school offer the option to use the Report a Problem function or have another method where you could contact the Canvas administrator for the school? They might be able to best help with transitioning your account from a student to observer. Otherwise, you would want to create a new account with a separate email to avoid this conflict.


Hi @Linzbee1234

I know it's only been a short week since we replied to your comment, but I wanted to reach out and make sure that you were able to contact Canvas Support. Please let us know if there's anything else we can help with or if you have any further questions that you think we can help answer. In the meantime, if we don’t hear from you, we’ll eventually archive this comment thread. We do this periodically to keep our guides updated and tidy. We’re always happy to help, though, so let us know if you have any other questions about Canvas.


These comments are posted to the global Canvas Community,

NOT your Canvas course.

  • Have a question about using Canvas? Visit the Q&A page.
  • Have an idea to improve Canvas? Visit the Idea Conversations space.
  • Need to reply to a course discussion? Log in to your Canvas course and add your comment there (Tip: Visit your school's website to log in to Canvas).
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