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​​​​​​​​​Studies show that eating together as a family can provide numerous benefits for children, ​​including higher ​self-esteem and better communication with their parents. ​But mealtime needs to ​become a regular ​​habit in ​order to sustain those benefits.

This year, as part of our annual “At the Table” initiative, Boys Town is encouraging families ​to gather #AtTheTable.

Eating together “At the Table” really does benefit everyone. The ​trick is finding the time. Are you up to it?

Take a photo of your family enjoying the challenge and share it with us on social media using the ​hashtag #AtTheTable.

The challenge is simple but not easy: try to eat together as ​a family for all seven days that week or even ​just for one. For each day, we’ve put together a specific activity or task:

Take the #AtTheTable Challenge

  • Day 1: Break the ice.

    Share something with your family using these conversations starters.

    For example:

    • What’s the worst thing you ate at lunch today?
    • If you could have used a superpower today, what would it have been and how?
    • What’s one thing you learned today that was really unexpected?
  • Day 2: Family goal night.

    Discuss what’s important to you as a family and ways you can give back. Make sure everyone leaves ​the table with a mission for the next day to make someone smile. Maybe it’s “talk to someone you’ve never met before” “compliment three people” or “help someone who needs assistance,” then discuss your experiences the next night.

  • Day 3: Say yes to “yuck.”

    Challenge a family member to try a new food that they think they won’t like. Maybe you can even give a reward if they finish it. Don’t forget to discuss the way you made someone smile today from yesterday’s challenge.

  • Day 4: Breakfast or bust.

    An alarming number of school-aged children do not eat breakfast each morning. In fact, according to the American Dietetic Association, more than 40 percent of girls and 32 percent of boys skip breakfast on a regular basis. Instead of dinner, on Day 4, start off the day by eating breakfast as a family.

  • Day 5: Chef roulette.

    This is a great way to have every person in your family involved with making the meal – but with a twist. Draw names of everyone in the family, each person is in charge of making a single meal for someone else. Those under 3 might need a little help and don’t be surprised if you end up with peanut butter and Jelly.

  • Day 6: Game on!

    Play a game together after dinner instead of going your separate ways. We’ve partnered with Fat Brain Toys to bring you ​some great game suggestions, including Baby Monkey Astronaut, Acuity and I Got This.

  • Day 7: My cup runneth over.​

    Each person has an empty cup. Give small slips of paper to each person in the family — one for each family member and one for themselves. The challenge is to write a short sentence to each person about what you admire about them, then fill their cup. You can choose to go around and share or just keep them private, but this cup is theirs to keep. It can offer uplifting words when kids and parents need them the most — and families can add to the cups as the years go on.​