The situation is all to common. A mother is concerned that her husband isn’t spending adequate time with the children. His job is requiring extra attention. With his seasoned efforts, promotions increase and so does his responsibility. When she asks him to spend some time with the kids because she is worried they are detached from him, the husband responds, “Why do you think I took this job? I’m doing all this for them!”

Most men are natural providers. By providing food on the table and a roof to sleep under, children ought to see the depth of their love. Unfortunately, while children may be grateful for those met needs, they are longing for connection and affection from their father. “Do I have to say I love them?” Yes, you do. “They should know I love them by what I provide for them.” Well, they don’t.

To ensure that your children know you love them, you need to get intentional.

Saying “I love you” when you leave for work or giving hugs before bedtime is a great start, but that isn’t enough. Other people in their lives give them physical affection and verbalize packaged phrases. As their father, you need to stand out from the rest of their relationships as a man who adores his children.

Aware that the schedule is tight, aware that you might be serving as a shuttling service for your kids right now, you can still show them you love them. Children remember the special events in life. Why not get creative in how you show your children you love them? Don’t wait for a still moment to show them, because most families are so busy that can’t happen unless space is carved out.

So, make the time. Get out a calendar and make a list of the dates by week for the next 4 months (ex. Jan. 1-7, Jan. 8-14, Jan. 15-21, etc.). Make a column for each of your children. Aware of special holidays or events, make a four month plan to show your kids you love them. If you plan for it, you are more likely to do it. Keep it creative. It doesn’t have to cost money. One week, you might be writing cards and placing them in book bags. One week, you might have a breakfast date at their favorite spot. Another week, you may surprise them with a CD they have wanted.

As you make your plan, each week look at what is on the schedule and make it happen. As you make plans, you will learn to study each child and know what really shows them love. Even if you are sure you love your children, are they sure of it?

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.