What is déjà vu, and how can we explain it to children?

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images 

I feel like I might have written this story before, but have I really or is it just déjà vu?

This strange occurrence is something I often experience and it freaks me out every single time. You know what I mean, when you feel like you've lived a very specific moment before and you're not sure why it feels so damn familiar.

According to the dictionary, déjà vu is a French word meaning "already seen".

It's a feeling of having already experienced the present situation.

Spirit alignment mentor and psychic medium Tracey Dimech said déjà vu was a conscious awareness that we have already seen what we are seeing in the present, yet we logically can't explain why.

"There are many 'scientific' explanations for déjà vu, but most of them deduce that - it's all in our brain," Ms Dimech said.

"We know the brain is a complex system and some studies around déjà vu indicate that there is a strong correlation between sensory memory and déjà vu.

"And some suggest that our sensory memory is also made up of our dreams so, when we experience déjà vu we could actually be recalling tiny fragments of dreams."

Another theory involves the concept of past lives or overlaps in time.

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"There's potential that a déjà vu episode is a moment in time and space that seemingly 'overlaps' from our past or future, and possibly even past and future lives," she said.

"It's simultaneously exciting and a little scary, and yet widely accepted by many as the answer to why, and how, we experience déjà vu."

Counselling psychotherapist Dr Karen Phillip agreed there were a number of different ways to explain the experience – scientifically or more spiritually.

"The scientific explanation is one side of your brain has a split-second delay in transferring information from one side of the brain to the other," she said.

"One side of the brain then gets the information slightly delayed from one side to the other resulting in the person getting a sense that an event has happened before.

"Saying this, as someone who works with the subconscious, I don't believe you can rule out either past life experiences or premonitions either."

But how do you explain the phenomenon to children who may be experiencing déjà vu for the first time?

Dr Phillips said it depends on the age of the child.

"For young children, it's easy to say how clever their mind is, thinking they've been there before," she said.

"I then suggest parents ask them details about when, who was there, what happened and accept what they say without trying to convince them they're wrong or haven't been somewhere or seen something previously."

The same goes for older kids, never tell them they're wrong.

"If they feel fearful just explain how their mind is very creative and can sometimes develop feelings and beliefs from similarities that seem real, but may not be," she said.

"Explain how amazing our mind is at doing these things and how great it is to be human."

While, Ms Dimech said the explanation of déjà vu would differ depending on if your child sees the world in terms of logic or imagination.

"For the logical child, you could literally recite any of the above explanations and it may be enough to satisfy and ease their fears," Ms Dimech said.

"If your child is excited by imaginative concepts, then explaining it using the same information, but in a way that makes it seem magical and 'super-power like' might help them feel brave or even curious about this mysterious happening."