What if you could help your child enjoy school more, get better grades, and reduce behavior problems at the same time? Reams of research has shown that regardless of parents’ income and educational background, their involvement in education helps their kids do better in and out of school.

Parent involvement can be as simple as helping with math homework or reading a book together at bedtime. Going to parent-teacher conferences is important, but taking the family to the school spaghetti supper makes a difference, too. More involvement is better, but you don’t have to be president of the PTO or run the school carnival. As long as your actions show that you value education, your child is likely to respond.

Here are 5 reasons you should get involved in your child’s education (though there are many more than just these):

1. Higher grades. Kids whose parents are involved in their education get better grades and have higher test scores. And the more parents are involved, the more their children seem to benefit. A study of parents highly involved in the educational process showed that their children were more likely to improve in reading and math.

2. Better behavior. Kids develop better social skills and show improved behavior when their parents are involved at school. Studies have also shown that kids are less likely to skip school, less disruptive in class, and more likely to do their homework when their parents are involved. One study showed that when dads are highly involved in schools, their children enjoy school more and are less likely to be suspended, expelled, or required to repeat a grade.

3. Improved education. Research shows that parent involvement can help improve the quality of schools, raise teacher morale, and improve a school’s reputation in the community. Involved parents gain the respect of teachers; as a result, teachers have higher expectations of their children. Involvement pays off in the long term, too: Children stay in school longer and are more likely to continue their education after high school.

4. Increased confidence. When students feel supported at home and school, they develop more positive attitudes about school, have more self-confidence, and place a higher priority on academic achievement. Children of involved parents are more likely to feel that they’re accepted, included, and respected and at school.

5. Parents benefit, too. When parents become involved in their children’s education, they become more comfortable in the school building, gain confidence in their parenting skills, and feel more capable of helping their children learn. They’re also more likely to continue their own education.

Involvement is easy. You don’t have to log hundreds of volunteer hours for your child to benefit. Even if you can only volunteer a few hours a year, every little bit counts. If you’re ready to do more, your school’s parent-teacher group can help you find ways to get involved that fit both your schedule and your interests.

Emily Graham is a senior editor for School Family Media. She lives with her family in Oklahoma.