The “Are We There Yet” Equation

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A math professor has reportedly discovered an equation that will tell parents how long it will take for the kids to say “are we there yet?”

The equation created by Dr. Dwight Barkley of the University of Warwick uses a multitude of factors to mathematically predict the exact moment.

T = (1 + a)/(k^2) + r


  • T = The time for the child to ask
  • a = The number of activities to do
  • k = The number of kids
  • r = How long it took to get ready

If we take this equation in minutes and say it took us 30 minutes to get ready, we have 2 kids, and we’ve given them each three travel games, we get:

T = (1 + 3)/(2^2) + 30 = (1)/(1) + 30 = Exactly 31 minutes, or exactly one minute after you get into the car.

Let’s try 30 minutes to get ready, 3 kids, and 20 games.

T = (1 + 20)/(5^2) + 30 = (21)/(9) + 30 = 32.3 minutes, or exactly 2.3 minutes after you get into the car.

Ouch! Looks pretty hopeless to me, either way. I think we need an equation that shows what size car you will need, and therefore how much gas you will expend on trips, in order to hold all the kids activities (a) in order to keep them quiet for at least 10 minutes.

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  1. It has been pointed out to me that my equations came out to 31 minutes for the first, and 32.3 minutes for the second, meaning that the kids ask not after only a minute or 2.3 minutes, but after 31 or 32.3 minutes based on the equation.

    I have two children and the people who criticized my reasoning have none. Therefore I submit that while this equation has merit and my critics definitely have a point, I win by default because my kids sure as hell start asking after only a minute or so.

  2. “after only a minute or so” sounds about right with my daughter. But there is one thing you left out of your equation which is how long it takes them before they start kicking the back of your seat, the number of times they kick the back of your seat, how many times you have to turn around and tell them to stop, and how many times they kick it regardless. You should know all about this right now…

  3. Um, just to tell you, your solutions come out at 31 and at 32.3, nowhere in the equation does it state that you have to subtract that amount by the time it took you to get ready.. Thus are answers should be:

    1. After 31 minutes the question is popped for the first time
    2. After (a whopping time of) 32.3 minutes the question is asked.

    Not after 1 minute and after 2.3 minutes.. That would mean that you have just pulled out of your drive-way and are stopping at the nearest stop sign.

  4. AH, foiled again! Thank you Brian for the information, I think you are right. Research over the past couple years has confirmed it, it obviously does happen the moment you pull out of your driveway!

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