Welcome to being in love. Those are great news for you but unfortunately, there's no tutorial that explain what to do or what not to do or whether the love is equal on both sides and if you both share the same vision and same expectations.
To answer your question:
Can I help him be ready
So the most straight forward answer is that there're no magic words that you can use but you can simply give him time and the more quality time you'll spend together the more feelings he will develop for you. Admiration, respect, listening, generosity are keys in making the other partner get connected to you. Don't push it too much though.
If I can't, how do I tell him that I want to be in a serious relationship without hurting or scaring him
You've been together for 8 month you're entitled to ask or state that you should be exclusive. But the key here is to use the right words, don't use "I want a serious relationship" instead you should use "I'm a serious guy and I feel committed to our relationship" that sends a clear message about yourself and about you and him (us).