March 28, 2012 11:00 AM

Michael Williams/Startraks

As a mom to three girls of varying ages – 8-year-old Sam, 6½-year-old Lola, and 9-month-old Eloise — Denise Richards says it can be challenging to find activities the whole family can do together.

But to bridge the gap, the actress turns to a tradition passed down by her own mother.

“With my mom, dinner was on the table every night at 6 o’clock, so it was something that I grew up with. I think it’s really important to sit around the table and talk about your day,” she tells PEOPLE.

“Eloise is eating solids, so she joins us in her high chair and looks at the bigger girls, and it’s nice.”

As a result, Richards has partnered with Totino’s to urge parents and children to undertake everything from philanthropic endeavors to athletics as a team, something she’s taken to doing with her own children.

“I always include her,” she says of incorporating baby Eloise — whom she adopted in June 2011 — into family events, like Sam and Lola’s soccer matches.

“She loves her big sisters, even just watching them … If we play in the backyard, if I’m playing with the bigger girls, I’ll bring Eloise’s chair so she’s able to be outside and watch us.”

Lucky for Eloise, Sam and Lola are just as taken with their little sister as she is with them.

“They love to feed her, and even when she was a [newborn], they loved holding her,” says Richards, 41, who recently appeared on 30 Rock.

“When Eloise was a little smaller, Lola showed me how she was able to carry her. She put the little blanket on her shoulder and picked her up and was carrying her around like a mom. I couldn’t believe it.”

But now that Eloise is older, her sisters have found a new way to pitch in.

“She’s teething. She has four teeth and two that just broke in,” says Richards. “Whatever we eat, I also give her … I put Eloise in the high chair [and Sam and Lola] help me fix her cereal, and on their own, they’ll feed her.”

— Kiran Hefa

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