Intuitive syllabifications of 50 five- and six- and 50 eight-year-old children are studied in an experimental setting. The children syllabified Dutch disyllabic words with a single intervocalic consonant that were presented orally to them. The aim was to find out if these syllabifications adhered to the universal principles of syllable structure and if the children's syllabifications witnessed an overruling of the universal phonological constraints by language specific ones. Results indicate that universal principles are sufficient to explain syllabifications. Except for obligatory onset formation, other principles act as soft constraints that are influenced by factors such as stress and vowel and consonant quality. A language specific constraint proposed in the phonological literature, namely bimoraic minimality, is hypothesized to be a result of children's familiarization with the spelling conventions.