I'm trying to get_term_children of a specific term:

$style_categories = get_term_children( 29, 'product_cat' ); 

if ( $style_categories ) :

    foreach ( $style_categories as $style ) :

        $child = get_term_by( 'id', $style, 'product_cat' );

        echo '<h3>' . $child->name . '</h3>';

              // post query goes here



This works, but it shows terms when they're empty, and there doesn't appear to be a hide_empty option for get_term_children.

Is there a way to do this?

1 Answer 1


With the get_term_children() function there is nothing to pass which will hide empty terms. You could do that in your foreach as each term has a property which holds how many posts it is assigned:

foreach( $style_categories as $style ) {
    $child = get_term_by( 'id', $style, 'product_cat' );
    // Skip empty terms
    if( $child->count <= 0 ) {

The way it stands now you're creating multiple queries - a better solution would be to use get_terms() instead.

get_terms( [ 'taxonomy' => 'product_cat', 'child_of' => 29] );

get_terms will hide the terms that have no post, you can change that with the hide_empty argument.

  • @LBF - Can this type of functionality not be achieved with get_terms()? I've updated my answer but it's probably inefficient.
    – Howdy_McGee
    Jun 10, 2016 at 18:46
  • 1
    Oh right -- I guess I could just use child_of with get_terms to do the same thing? D'oh.
    – LBF
    Jun 10, 2016 at 20:27
  • @LBF - if that works for you post it as an answer - I'm not sure the core differences between the two functions but as it stands now you're making a ton of extra queries.
    – Howdy_McGee
    Jun 10, 2016 at 20:28
  • 1
    It did work, thank you. But you're right. I'll use get_terms instead. Not sure how I got so twisted around. Still learning...
    – LBF
    Jun 10, 2016 at 20:30
  • I've added the get_terms() example in the edited solution.
    – Tim
    Aug 26, 2020 at 7:37

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